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A friend who works inside government was making fun of me over the weekend for getting a tad too excited about the administration’s Power Africa initiative. It’s true that I’ve been pushing for energy poverty to get more attention and was pretty heartened by the White House effort which aims to increase electricity generation by 10,000 MW in six target countries.

I was thinking about her jibes when buying a new refrigerator, especially when I noticed the yellow energy guide tag that shows how much electricity the unit will use in a typical year. I know I live an energy-intensive lifestyle. Americans on average use 13,395 kWh/year (IEA data for 2010), which is nearly three times what the typical South African uses and 100 times the average Nigerian.  But I was still pretty shocked to see how my new single-family fridge compares with an average citizen in the six Power Africa countries:

Figure 1