Launched by President
It aims to 'de-risk' projects, to facilitate the inflow of some
Obama's initiative is focused on accelerating the development of clean energy sources and adoption of energy-efficient technologies (like the
But the initiative is being invoked on all possible occasions; for example, as a driver behind
US officials seem genuinely energised by their agencies' involvement in Power Africa - gaining momentum from Obama's global appeal and the pressure he can exert on government to unpack resources. Power
Among recent highlights was the 3-4 June US-Africa Energy Ministerial meeting, chaired by
US critics question its ability to meet targets within its five-year time frame. Others fear its main impact could be to help
Only a small percentage of Power Africa's headline numbers is likely to come from direct financing. "We are not a bucket of money", commented a senior diplomat based on the continent.
The appointment of US-funded 'transaction advisors' to key positions in ministries, power pools and other strategic positions, coupled with targeted early stage financing, reflect an accurate analysis of the weak points that have held back developments in generation, transmission and distribution across SSA.
Transaction advisors like
This strengthens the support offered by TDA, which provides technical assistance and financial support for pre-feasibility studies - in the process giving projects an American flavour (and specifications) from the start.
A range of stakeholders canvassed by African Energy welcomed moves such as putting embedded advisors into the
Consequently, the non-US (usually lead) partners in several high profile Power Africa schemes have told African Energy they can accept US grandstanding if it forces open doors to build SSA's missing infrastructure.
This is a View article from the African Energy newsletter, a source of independent analysis on the continent's energy industries produced by Cross-border Information, a business intelligence company with a long established research focus on the politics, energy and financial sector trends of
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