The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 49 safe and reliable source of power. Morris’ profits have increased by more than 50 percent, and his ability to support his family has improved greatly—so much so that he is able to sponsor two of his brothers in their education. Morris told us that he hopes his brothers will use their education to make better lives for themselves. He says that more Kenyans are visiting the island, and predicts that the village will grow and add many more shops, services and jobs to the local economy. We know that energy solutions save lives. When the Ebola epidemic hit Liberia in 2014, Power Africa deployed emergency generators that allowed health clinics to provide 24-hour care, which helped treat patients and stem the outbreak. One of our projects in rural Liberia powered approximately 200 house- holds, streetlights, and public facilities, including a school, clinic, community center and cooperative office. Electrification strengthened the rural community’s resilience and ability to bounce back after the devastat- ing losses from Ebola. Power Africa also creates political and economic oppor- tunities for Americans. Access to reliable sources of electricity helps people, businesses and countries emerge from poverty and create more stable econo- mies; and this, in turn, opens trade opportunities for U.S. businesses. It is estimated, for example, that General Electric has exported more than $250 million worth of equipment from the United States since Power Africa’s launch, helping secure 1,500 American jobs. A small company in Ohio, Rickly Hydro, estimates that 40 percent of its 25-person workforce was dedicated to filling an equipment order for a Power Africa project in Tanzania. Power Africa is making a difference across all sectors—from health and education to gender and agriculture. To date, we have helped close 126 deals that will generate more than 10,000 MW of new and critically needed electricity, nearly half of which (4,000 MW) is already operational and turning lights on across the continent. Collectively, these 126 transactions that have reached financial close are worth more than $20 billion, real money from the private sector disbursed in support of our development goals. Power Africa has a number of important achievements to its credit. The program: • established nearly 16 million new electricity connections for homes and businesses that provide first-time access for roughly 74 million people. With every new connection, comes dignity, self-reliance and economic promise. • facilitated the first-ever independent power producer transactions in Malawi, Ethiopia and Senegal, paving the way for enterprise-driven development in those countries. • helped electricity distribution companies in Nigeria dramatically reduce their losses and increase revenues, which strengthens power delivery and improves the health of the entire energy sector. • created the Power Africa Tracking Tool, a mobile app that monitors power project deals across sub-Saharan Africa. With a simple tap, our partners, potential investors and the general public can find details on more than 900 deals repre- senting upwards of 80,000 MW of installed electric power. Our most important part- ners are African governments, particularly those committed to advancing energy sector reforms. Together, we are reducing barriers to invest- ment and moving projects from financial close to pro- duction of electricity, lighting up homes and strengthening economies. Power Africa rep- resents American economic diplomacy and development policy at its best, working across U.S. agencies, public and private-sector partners and African governments to promote a shared mission that has the potential to change millions of lives for the better. Our team is proud that the U.S. government is replicating or adapting the Power Africa model to shape new initiatives, such as the administration’s USAID-led Prosper Africa and Department of State–led Asia EDGE initiatives. As the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation is launched, lessons are being drawn from Power Africa’s experience to ensure seamless interagency col- laboration. We have accomplished much to date, but have a long way to go. Our model is working, and we look forward to hearing the chorus “lights on” in every language across Africa. n Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz, at left, tours the Té Power Plant in Guinea with Power Africa partner Endeavor Energy’s Managing Director Amadou Ba, at center, and USAID/ Power Africa Senior Adviser Rockfeler Herisse in November 2019. POWERAFRICA