HumanIPO reported last week GE had announced a three-year partnership with USADF to launch and co-fund the challenge, with Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Liberia to benefit from the initiative aimed at increasing electricity access to underserved, marginalised communities in Africa.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, Shari Berenbach, president and chief executive officer (CEO) for USADF said Kenya was picked among the six countries as a point of US government power following President Obama’s announcement last week.
“We recognise the need to access to power in several countries in Africa; jointly acknowledge the need to support the development of Off-Grid energy solutions to meet the demands of African communities. The USADF has been catalyzing people out of poverty for thirty years,” she said.
According to her, this initiative will help leverage more marginalised and underserved communities into positions to engage in and benefit from inclusive economic growth.
The US$2 million initiative is a three-year programme that will award 20 or more grants of up to US$100,000 each to African companies and organisations providing off grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power economic activities.
Berenbach added that the challenge will provide up to US$1.5 million in grants of approximately US$100,000 each to non-governmental, indigenous African organisations for projects that support local energy solutions.
“GE and USADF will individually contribute US$250,000, and US$500,000 in 2013 and 2014 respectively to support project grants under the Power Africa Challenge,” she said.
Addressing the audience at the same event, GE Africa President and CEO Jay Ireland said GE Africa was committed to the sustainable development of Africa’s energy sector.
“GE is proud to partner with the USADF on this project which will change the lives of millions of Africans,” he said. “We will serve as an expert adviser in developing the selection process and in reviewing.”
Ireland added that the challenge will tap into Africa’s expertise on how Africa’s challenges on power could best be solved from an African perspective.
“We bring in the technology, but the indigenous people on the ground have the insights on what works best for Africa and we can localise our solutions to solve the uniquely challenges on power,” he said.
The White House-led initiative hopes to drive growth by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power.
USADF is a public corporation that funds African enterprises, cooperatives and community-based organisations to build capacity and expand capacity, while GE Africa delivers innovative technology solutions for regional challenges to support growth throughout the continent.