Power Africa announces more than US$1bn in new commitments

U.S. Africa Business Forum Leaders Welcome Breakfast United States Department of StateUS African Business Forum Welcome Breakfast 2016. (Image source: United States Department of State)Three years after the launch of Power Africa, the United States is on track to fulfill its initial US$7bn commitment over five years

Africa Business Forum, the US Government and its Power Africa partners announced several new milestones across dozens of energy projects and transactions. These commitments,  totaling more than US$1bn worth of debt and finance, will advance deals that aim to provide access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa. 

Three years after the launch of Power Africa, the United States is on track to fulfill its initial US$7bn commitment over five years, and several departments and agencies have announced that they've expanded Power Africa commitments as detailed in the 2016 annual report. Power Africa partners, including African governments, multilateral and bilateral partners, and more than 130 private sector partners are helping to maximize our impact and accelerate private sector investment in renewable energy.

The U.S. Government's initial US$7bn commitment has mobilized more than US$52bn in additional external commitments, including more than US$40bn in private sector commitments to invest in power generation and distribution across sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa is tracking more than 500 deals across the continent. Many of these deals reached new milestones yesterday. Notable transactions include:

Power Multiple Infrastructure Projects: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) committed US$250mn in financing to Standard Bank for an innovative power and infrastructure facility, at least US$150mn of which is dedicated to power projects in Africa. The facility will leverage the South African bank's experience, knowledge and presence on the continent to originate critical infrastructure transactions. Standard Bank added US$33mn from its own balance sheet and Wells Fargo contributed US$50mn to the facility as well, making it the largest deal Wells Fargo has done in Africa.

Power Loan with Standard Chartered and PTA Bank: USAID, through Power Africa, intends to provide a loan guarantee in support of a US$50mn loan from Standard Chartered Bank to The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank). PTA Bank will use the funds from Standard Chartered to on-lend to power projects. Countries where funds could be on-lent include Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Biotherm Expansion Power Africa partner, BioTherm secured 20 megawatts (MW) of solar projects in Ghana, 34MW of solar projects in Burkina Faso, 284MW of wind and solar in South Africa, which it expects to close US$450mn worth of debt financing in the next month followed immediately by construction. BioTherm has also developed a pipeline of wind and solar projects across the continent totaling 314MW, which it expects to bring into construction during the next 12-24 months.

Off-Grid Refrigeration Competition: The Global Light and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) - in partnership with USAID's U.S. Global Development Lab, Power Africa, and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development  - launched a joint call for high efficiency, low-cost off-grid refrigeration solutions. The competition will offer three innovation prizes, each worth US$200,000, to reward advancements in off-grid refrigeration technology, while also recognizing best-in-class commercially available off-grid refrigerators.

Energy Entrepreneurs for the Off-Grid Energy: The US African Development Foundation (USADF) announced 20 new US$100,000 grants for African energy entrepreneurs in the newest round of the Off-Grid Energy Challenge. These winners are innovating, using renewable technologies from solar micro-grids to biogas, to bring electricity to rural communities living far from the national grid.

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