Bringing reliable, renewable power to Africans has been an ongoing conversation around the climate talks in Paris this month. Both the U.S. and the UK have programs with goals to do just this. Going forward, however, the programs will be power amplified with the new collaboration between the two countries. The partnership was announced during COP21 by UK International Development Minister Nick Hurd and Associate Administrator of USAID Eric Postel.
The goal of the new partnership between the UK’s Energy Africa campaign and the America’s Power Africa initiative is to leverage much-needed private investment, develop networks to share power across borders and harness geothermal resources to boost access to electricity across the continent.
“It is shocking that 600 million Africans still live without power at home. This is not just holding back individuals; it is holding back an entire continent,” said Hurd during the announcement. “No one can tackle Africa’s energy challenge alone. We will only make progress if we work together. That is why this new partnership is so important.
Hurd added, “The US has led the way over the past few years with its Power Africa campaign. Together with our Energy Africa campaign we can boost access to reliable, clean and affordable household energy, helping millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty.”
A Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries was signed at COP21 during the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and New Climate Economy event “Climate change in Africa: Financing low-carbon pathways for Development”. The new deal will harness the skills, expertise and investment power of the private sector to help improve energy access, boost economic growth and reduce poverty.
“The United States Government is thrilled to work closely with DFID on the Energy Africa campaign, to accelerate the household solar market,” added Postel. “In partnership with DFID, development agencies, African governments, the private sector, and civil society, we can help accelerate Africa’s energy path toward economic and environmental sustainability and ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.”