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To date, Power Africa has helped 58 million people gain access to electricity. The initiative, through its over 140 private sector partners, has helped facilitate deals totalling $14.5 billion.

Power Africa to connect refugee campsThe Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) alone has committed $2.4 billion to the Power Africa initiative. OPIC's commitments include loans, guaranties and political risk insurance across 12 utility-scale power plants, eight off-grid and small-scale renewable projects and four microfinance and investment facilities. Together, these are expected to create 1 660 MW of new generation capacity.

OPIC, the U.S. Government's development finance institution, is one of 12 U.S. Government partners in Power Africa and has been supporting the initiative since it was launched in 2013. In total, Power Africa has supported 88 power projects in Africa that are projected to add 7 400 MW of generating power.

Having identified a need, Power Africa’s latest electrification projects are refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya. “Africa and its displaced communities present their own special challenges. I think we all know there are millions of displaced Africans - South Sudanese, Burundians and more - living indefinitely in camps - really pop-up cities - with no power and only the most basic of necessities. In January, I had the honour of announcing a new partnership that Power Africa has with MasterCard, aimed at helping to connect these millions of displaced people to electricity,” USAID Administrator Mark Green told delegates at the fourth annual Powering Africa Summit.

“Through Power Africa, we helped convene more than 15 partners - from Mastercard to Mercy Corps to Energy Peace Partners. Together, we're working to power and connect five different refugee camps: Three in Uganda and two in Kenya.”

According to Green, Power Africa is helping its private sector partners set up micro-grids, which will bring reliable and affordable power to these camps for the first time. Once the camps are electrified, USAID's innovation team and other coalition members will work to connect them to the Internet. With support from Mastercard and other partners, Power Africa is creating digital tools that tap into residents' mobile phones to track health records, to provide digital identities, and to enable pay-as-you-go power, school fees, and other digital vouchers for services. “In total, we expect to give more than 600 000 people access to affordable power, internet, and these digital tools,” he said.

Image credit: https://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/mark-green

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