African Ambassadors to the US and American Partners Held Discussion on ''Power Africa"
Initiative at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC.
Tsehaye Debalkew Washington DC, November 7, 2013
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Over 40 African countries represented in Washington D.C. met and held deep
going discussion on the way forward with President Obama's Power Africa, a
new initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa @ the Chancery of
the Ethiopian Embassy.
Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy and Ambassador Extra-Ordinary and
Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the US who opened the confab underlined in his
remark the profound importance of the initiative which could help in the alleviation
of the challenges observed in the sector.
The Ambassador recounted that more than two-thirds of the population of
sub-Saharan Africa is currently without electricity, and more than 85 percent of
those living in rural areas lack access to power, he underscored.
The Special Envoy who is also the resident ambassador of Ethiopia to Canada and Mexico brought to light that the US government has pledged
to commit more than $7 Billion in financial support over the next five years to this effort.
Ambassador Girma also noted that an allotment of more than $9 Billion in initial commitments from the private sector which power Africa Initiative
will also leverage would have a positive impact on African investment portfolio.
In reference to the timeliness of the meeting Ambassador Girma who summoned today's meeting in his capacity as the Chairperson of the
Ambassadors' Group of AGOA eligible countries punctuated that African countries should utilize the prevailing present climate as an opportune
moment to further the already strengthened engagement with the US in terms of infrastructure and investment.
As regards to many African countries that currently fall out of the fold of the initiative, Ambassador Girma opined that jointly engaging the US public
and private sectors would certainly yield the inclusion of other countries.
Ambassador Girma further revealed that according to reports, a US-Africa Energy meeting is scheduled to take place in 2014 which makes
today's meeting quintessential, he underlined.
Mr. Somduth Sobrun, Mauritius' Ambassador to the US who is also the Co-Chairman of AGOA eligible countries Ambassadors' group expressed
his opinion that the briefing session was essential and timely. The participants of the meeting also hailed the informative nature of the confab and
expressed their belief that such meetings would continue to be held in the future.
Participants on the American side representing USAID, MCC, US Department of Energy, the State Department and Staffers from the US Congress
made an eloquent participation by explaining issues raised by the attendees. Also actively participating were guests from Leadership Africa who
took the initiative of organizing and running the confab along with the Ethiopian Embassy.
Power Africa will build on Africa's enormous power potential, including new
discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop
clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy. According to the
international Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa will require more than $300
billion in investment to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.
The United States and its partners will work with an initial set of power Africa
partner countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and
Tanzania. These countries have set ambitious goals in electric power
generation and are making the utility and energy sector reforms to pave the
way for investment and growth. Power Africa will also partner with Uganda
and Mozambique on responsible oil and gas resources management
according to News reports.