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World Bank Announces US$5bn for Power Generation in Africa

power.africa5 August 2014: The World Bank has committed US$5 billion in technical and financial support for energy projects in six African countries partnering with US President Barack Obama's Power Africa Initiative. The support will consist of direct financing, investment guarantees and advisory services for project preparation, with the aim of creating 2.5 GW in new electricity generation capacity.

The announcement was made during the US-Africa Business Forum, held on 5 August 2014, as part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C., US. Delivering the announcement, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, noted that poor infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa, including electricity, reduces economic growth by two percentage points and business productivity by up to 40% each year. He stressed the importance and urgency of the World Bank's financial commitment given that 600 million people in Africa still lack access to electricity.

The six initial partner countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania. The US Government and the World Bank will elaborate specific tasks and milestones to help attain the stated goal of achieving 2.5 GW in new power generating capacity.

The Power Africa Initiative, announced on 30 June 2013, in Cape Town, South Africa, aims to double the number of people with access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and add more than 10 GW of clean and efficient generation capacity by unlocking the region's substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas and geothermal resources. [World Bank Press Release on the Announcement] [World Bank Press Release on Kim's Statement] [Power Africa Initiative Website] [US-Africa Leaders Summit Website] [IISD RS Story on the US-Africa Summit]