News Column

WB Commits U.S. $5 Billion to Lighting Up Sub-Saharan Africa

August 6, 2014

Olive Burrows



World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday announced a Sh440 billion investment in the generation of power in six countries that include Kenya.

Kim said the investment, into Power Africa, would be in "direct financing, investment guarantees and advisory services for project preparation."

An investment that would complement the Sh604 billion the US government announced it would be spending on renewable energy generation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania through to 2018.

Kim said, "following President (Barrack) Obama's lead," their investment should see one quarter of Power Africa's goal of generating 10,000 MW of new power in Sub-Saharan Africa met.

READ: Obama's Africa power project to sit in Nairobi.

He however called on the business leaders gathered at the US-Africa Business Forum in Washington DC to join the effort and power economic growth in Africa.

"The US government and World Bank Group are working now on specific tasks and milestones for projects... But while our financial and technical support will help move these projects forward, what we know is that we need much, much more funding," he said.

A steady flow of electricity throughout Africa, was identified at the forum as necessary to bolstering Africa's economic growth. "As Aliko Dangote said earlier, the five and a half percent or so growth in Africa has been done without power," Kim referenced.

Kim's announcement followed one by US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker that they were planning on expanding their, "Foreign Commercial Service presence - these are our economic diplomats on the ground," by expanding their existing offices in Kenya, Ghana, Libya and Morocco.

As well as doubling the number of commercial offices in Africa with new sites in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. "And we are returning a Foreign Commercial Service presence to the African Development Bank for the first time in three years," she added.

Pritzker said they expected the US-Africa Business Forum would also catalyse Sh1.2 trillion in deals between the US and Africa by bringing together top African and US business and government leaders, among them Capital FM Chairman Chris Kirubi.


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Source: AllAfrica


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