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President Obama announced the project when he toured Africa in June 2013. Photo/FILE


Obama’s Africa power project to sit in Nairobi

President Obama announced the project when he toured Africa in June 2013. Photo/FILE

President Obama announced the project when he toured Africa in June 2013. Photo/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 19 – A grand power project for Africa that was announced by US President Barack Obama in June has formally kicked off at its headquarters in Nairobi.

According to Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz, it will be the first time a U.S. Presidential initiative will be led from the field.

“The other thing that’s exciting about being here is that we’re located here in the Rift Valley and to be able to meet with people from Tanzania and Ethiopia and other countries and come up with a comprehensive regional strategy to bring more geothermal power online can really be transformational,” he said.

Kenya is among the six African countries that will benefit from the initial Sh604,099,766,213 American government investment over the next five years.

The Kinangop Wind Park, for example, is among the projects Power Africa is partnering on with the Kenyan government and private investors.

“Kenya really is far along in terms of the enabling environment for private sector investment. Aeolus just reached financial close, that’s the largest private wind park in all of Sub-Saharan Africa and that’s a huge accomplishment for Kenya,” Herscowitz said.

In Ethiopia Power Africa is involved in the Corbetti Geothermal project that it projected to produce 1,000 megawatts of power and in Tanzania Power Africa is involved in the Kiwira River Hydro Project.

The other two countries in the first phase of Power Africa are Liberia and Ghana.

In addition to working with the above governments on power projects they already have in the pipeline, Power Africa is also looking to partner with the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

Already, the initiative has attracted double the American people’s investment as it hopes to double the continent’s power supply through clean energy.

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“Power Africa’s financial partners have committed to providing over Sh1.2 trillion in project finance through direct loans, guarantee facilities and equity investments,” the Power Africa fact sheet reads.

Currently two out of every three Africans do not have access to electricity and should Power Africa succeed, 20 million additional homes and businesses would gain access.

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