The electrification of the small community of Nyaishozi in Tanzania means that it now takes one day for carpenter Viktor Kagande to carry out a job that previously took him a week. Now his cooperative with seven members has hired eight more carpenters.
Not having access to electricity is a major barrier to escaping poverty. In sub-Saharan Africa, roughly 600 million people lack access to electricity. The initiative Power Africa aims to double the number of people with access to electricity in Africa over the next ten years.
The long term goal of Power Africa is to reduce poverty on the continent, as an increasing number of people gain access to electricity. From a Swedish perspective the initiative has a sustainable focus through increased investment in renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydropower.
Power Africa was initiated in 2013 by US President Barack Obama and the country's aid agency USAID. Sweden joined the initiative in 2014 as the second country after the United States. Sida is the implementing agent in Sweden, contributing one billion dollars over ten years through grants, loans and guarantees.
The World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) also participate in Power Africa. To reach the target, all current partners work to involve more actors and donors, for example by engaging the business sector and stimulate private and institutional investments.
Sida's role in Power Africa
Sida works together with USAID, but with our own plan linked to the existing budget and current strategies. Through Power Africa, we hope to complement ongoing and planned interventions within the African energy sector, especially through new partnerships.
The projects include initiatives that increase access to electricity in rural areas which helps girls walk safely to school, or makes it possible for health clinics to store vaccines at the right temperature. It also involves providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to produce goods and services and by doing so create productive jobs.
In Power Africa we develop our energy cooperation with, in particular, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, and through regional partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa. The previous cooperation has contributed to an increased number of people with access to electricity, including through support to programs for rural electrification. It has also contributed to reforming electricity markets and opened up opportunities for more actors to actively participate in the production and distribution of electricity.