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Global Gateway: EU and United States join hands to boost green energy in Africa

The European Union and the United States have announced their collaboration to boost sustainable energy in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to support the continent’s production potential and improve access to green energy. 

By editorial staff

“Together, we can electrify even more schools and health centers, and fight even more efficiently the inequalities linked to energy poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen. With USAID Administrator Samantha Power, she signed in Washington a renewed Memorandum of Understanding on closer EU–US cooperation that will allow joint promotion of projects such as the African Continental Power System Masterplan.

“Under Global Gateway (a European strategy in the digital, energy and transport sectors), we are boosting our cooperation with the US administration to build the strategic autonomy of our African partners, including by unlocking more opportunities to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy,” noted Jutta Urpilainen.  

Nearly two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity

The closer EU–US cooperation aims at supporting a just and green energy transition, reducing energy poverty, and increasing access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all in Sub-Saharan Africa. By working together towards these common goals with their respective strengths, expertise and resources, the EU and US hope to boost their impact in increasing sustainable energy availability and access in Africa as part of poverty reduction, fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and mitigating climate change.

Nearly two out of three people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity. And up to 600 million people have limited access to quality health care, education and economic opportunities. To address these challenges, the EU and US intend to coordinate efforts supporting projects in Sub-Saharan Africa at regional and national level in several areas. These projects include small-scale and off-grid power generation, access to renewable energy, electrification of health facilities and schools, as well as women- and youth-led businesses and rural households. 

The first EU–US Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on energy availability and access in Sub-Saharan Africa was signed in 2015. Global Gateway’s stated ambition today is to mobilize up to €300 billion of investment between 2021 and 2027. This is to support Africa’s ambition by 2030 to increase the renewable energy generation capacity on the continent by at least 300,000 megawatts.

USAID, on its part, coordinates the Power Africa Presidential Initiative of Barack Obama, which aims to leverage private and public sector partnerships to double access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the launch of this initiative, at least 30,000 megawatts of new, cleaner electrical power generation capacity, 60 million electrical connections, and 5 000 kilometers of new transmission lines will be added by 2030.

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