“Power Africa, President Obama’s signature African electrification push, is in limbo’"
Africa is yet to know what Trump’s Administration has planned to deepen the partnership. Power Africa, for example, an African electrification push and large-scale long-term infrastructure investments was launched in June 2013. Its continuity is in trouble. The Trump campaign made no mention of Power Africa in any campaign materials. Yet speculation is rife that the new Administration will cancel the initiative out of budgetary concerns. But Power Africa is not a giveaway. It was always aimed at working with America’s allies in Africa, those same countries that America count on to help him fight terrorism. Power Africa is already paying diplomatic and humanitarian dividends. Over time, expanded electricity in Africa will also bolster American prosperity and security. As matter of fact, technically, several sets of reasons help to keep on the initiative. 1) Power Africa is about leveraging private investments. It has never been about handing over money to foreign governments or even paying for foreign projects with US tax dollars. It is about using public policy tools to gather private capital to help build and expand power plants, grids and other energy systems. The private investment tally is $40 billion so far. 2) Power Africa saves America money. The initial $7 billion public sector pledge was nearly entirely comprised of anticipated loans to US companies and investors. The modest grant elements are mostly for US transaction advisors and other technical assistance to shepherd private power projects to completion. 3) Power Africa creates American jobs. It boosts American jobs by creating opportunities for US companies. Even more importantly than the immediate power projects, new electricity in sub-Saharan Africa helps to generate economic growth and millions of new consumers in fast-growing markets, which are all potential customers for American exporters and targets for American investors.