Last Friday, hundreds of people braved the rain to learn more about the future of the Electrify Africa movement at Powering Africa’s Progress, an event hosted by CSIS with support from ONE. The discussion was particularly interesting given the panelists diverse range of experiences. In addition to ONE’s own CEO and President, Michael Elliott, the panel also featured African leaders in both the multilateral and private sectors; Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank, and Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Heirs Holdings, an African investment company. Last but certainly not least, Darius Mans, President of Africare, joined with experience in advocacy and charitable work. The overwhelming popularity of the event demonstrates strong support for providing access to electricity in Africa.
Sharing their thoughts on energy access in Africa
At the event, Michael Elliott explained that Africa’s lack of energy infrastructure is one of the “greatest injustices of our time, it is also the greatest opportunity of our century.” Here are a few key takeaways from the panel:
1. Transparency: This movement provides an opportunity to improve transparency in the energy sector by embedding it into the initial framework and preventing corruption and inefficiency down the road.
2. Creativity: It presents a chance for for innovative solutions to be scaled-up and implemented across the continent, particularly new solutions that cater to Africa’s unique circumstances and landscape. Looking at which kinds of energy delivery systems are best for individual local communities will be important for creating accessibility for all.
3. Collaboration: President Kaberuka and Chairman Tony Elumelu emphasized that this is an opportunity for African governments and businesses to form connections and regional arrangements that will establish networks of cooperation for providing power. It is a chance for collaboration amongst African leaders in government, business, and civil society to work together and come up with long-term, sustainable solutions.
4. Investment: Perhaps the most exciting opportunity of all is the possibility for businesses to see Africa as an opportunity for private investment and business growth rather than the recipient of charity and philanthropy. Elumelu stressed that it is particularly important for African private investors to get involved, as Heirs Holdings as done by committing $2.5 billion in investments in African power.
You can be part of expanding access to energy in Africa. Tell Congress to support the bill to electrify Africa now.