Ethiopia: US begins aggressive energy rollout in Africa

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    The US has embarked on an aggressive energy rollout in Africa, targeting 2 million households, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced Tuesday.

    The plan, which was unveiled at the US-Africa Energy ministerial meeting, which opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, is dubbed “Beyond the Grid,” and aims at driving US Government initiative investments in small-scale energy solutions.

    The new energy plan comes as part of a follow-up to US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Plan, which targets power investments in six African countries.

    At least 27 private investors have committed to invest US$1 billion into the plan to provide affordable power connections to some 20 million people.

    Secretary Moniz said the ‘Beyond the Grid’ plan was part of the US “Doing Business in Africa” campaign, a new foreign policy focused on boosting international trade.

    Moniz said the ‘Doing Business in Africa’ plan would also focus on increasing US firms investments in Africa.

    The Energy plan for Africa will initially target rural households in six African countries –
    Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania – which were earmarked as the beneficiaries of the project.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Ethiopia, with current energy policy focusing on generating 10,000 Megawatts of power, had experienced firsthand the challenge of attracting energy-sector investments due to fears by the private sector.

    Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) has lauded the launch of several plans to increase energy access in Africa but called on the US to urgently consider extending its Power Africa plan to more countries.

    AU Commissioner for Energy ElHam Ibrahim said the Sustainable Energy for All was launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in 2012 and the EU-Africa Energy Partnership is being executed.

    Ibrahim said the US plan should build upon the German Energy Ministry’s plan – the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Project – which has offered 50 million Euros to countries in East Africa.

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