The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has announced a grant of up to $88.9 million over the next five years to step up investment in renewable energy and reduce electricity access gaps in East and central Africa.
The money will be used to directly support the creation of about 10 million on- and off-grid electricity connections, a move expected to connect at least 50 million people to electricity generated from clean sources.
Besides the grant, the American embassy in Nairobi said the US would mobilise new public and private investments of up to $4.7 billion in the region’s renewable energy projects through its ‘Power Africa’ programme.
The investment is projected to deliver up to 1,227 megawatts of electricity and develop about 1,500 kilometres of new transmission lines, connecting more households and businesses to the grid.
USAid administrator Samantha Power said that since the Power Africa programme has proven that “clean energy investment delivers meaningful returns,” the new grant would be used as leverage to help mobilise more investments in the region’s clean energy projects.
The US embassy did not disclose projects in the region that would benefit from the grant, but Ms Power hinted that they’ll be working with Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya “to find and invest in smaller solar powered systems that can be transformative for small and medium-sized businesses”.
She was speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the African Energy Forum in Nairobi on Wednesday.