Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Tag: Power Africa

 

Is Africa Energy Poverty the Next Big Bipartisan Development Issue?

Bipartisanship has a pulse in Washington after all. Or, maybe it’s just Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) reminding the town that certain issues trump the desire to deliver mortal body blows. What unites this conservative from San Bernardino and a progressive from the Bronx? The belief that sustained US leadership can help bring economic and social opportunity to millions of Africans that lack any access to electricity.

Seven Graphics that Explain Energy Poverty and How the US Can Do Much More

Energy poverty is an endemic and crippling problem; nearly 600 million people in Africa live without access to any power, which also means no access to safer and healthier electric cooking and heating, powered health centers and refrigerated medicines, light to study at night, or electricity to run a business.  Here’s the situation in the 6 countries chosen to be part of President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, home to nearly 1/3 of the continent’s population. 

What’s Happening with Power Africa and the Electrify Africa Act?

In June 2013, President Obama announced a major new development initiative, which aims to double access to electricity in Sub Saharan Africa. The first phase of the Power Africa Initiative focuses on adding more than 10,000 megawatts of “cleaner, more efficient generation capacity” in six partner countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania).  This should increase electricity access for at least 20 million households and commercial entities through on-grid, mini-grid, and off-grid solutions.  The US government will commit up to $7 billion over five years to this effort, while helping to mobilize more than $9 billion in private investment.  My colleague Todd Moss and I have warmly welcomed this new initiative while also flagging a few things to watch for and think about (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples).

How Long Can You Live with This Kind of “Modern” Energy?

Lant Pritchett lambasts the donor focus on eliminating extreme poverty because getting the income of poor people to the $1.25/day threshold is a pathetic definition of success.  A decade ago Lant had proposed $15/day as more sensible minimum for human wellbeing. Today, he worries that setting our sights too low prevents us from meeting the real goal of development—to build modern, prosperous societies.

Why Ex-Im Can’t Be the Financing Cornerstone of Power Africa

Someone from an advocacy organization asked the other day why we at CGD are so focused on unleashing OPIC and not instead concentrating on the U.S. Export-Import Bank as the private sector lever for President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. After all, the Ex-Im Bank accounts for the bulk of the funding in the announcement ($5 billion as opposed to OPIC’s $1.5 billion). It’s a sensible question.

Pages