Citi's Commitment to Powering Africa
By Peter Sullivan, Head of Public Sector Group, Africa February 02, 2015 02:42 PM
Affordable, plentiful energy is the cornerstone of modern industry and economic development. Yet across much of Africa, it remains in desperately short supply. Around 70% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity.
Africa's power problem cuts right across society. Solving it would benefit millions of Africans who depend on unhealthy, often unsafe, and expensive alternatives to electricity for lighting, cooking, and heating. Improving electricity supplies would also spur small business development and create jobs, help improve public services, and enable the continent to realize more of its broader industrial and economic potential.
The prize is huge. Financing and building the necessary energy infrastructure is the challenge.
This is where the Power Africa Initiative comes in, and where Citi is playing an important role.
At the first ever U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014 in Washington D.C., Citi announced its formal partnership with USAID under a U.S. government-led power plan to increase access, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply in Africa.
The Power Africa Initiative targets investments in energy infrastructure, policy and regulatory reforms and institutional capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, the financial commitments from private sector, the World Bank, and Public Sector partners amount to more than U.S. $33 billion.
Stakeholders in the Power Africa initiative include not only the U.S. government, but also governments of several African countries, multinational companies, and local public and private sector enterprises. This initiative focuses on an initial set of six partner countries in its first phase: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania, with power projects already underway in most of them.
Last week, the Powering Africa Summit convened, and brought together a delegation of African stakeholders, Ministers of Energy, Ministers of Finance, and Heads of Utilities and Regulatory bodies to meet with U.S. investors to discuss the growing opportunities in the power sector across the continent.
Together with my colleagues, I was glad to attend this summit and to reinforcing Citi's commitment to facilitating infrastructure development and supporting both, public and private sector clients in Africa. We believe that increased awareness and greater involvement from the private sector will help drive this important initiative forward, and look to this this summit as continuation and recognition of the commitment of the many stakeholders to making a difference in Africa.