Tuesday, 2 July 2013

US President Barrack Obama pledges $7 Billion Electricity support for Nigeria

(CNN) -- U.S. President Barack
Obama
pledged $7 billion Sunday to help
combat frequent power
blackouts in sub-
Saharan Africa. Funds from the initiative, dubbed
Power
Africa, will be distributed over
the next
five years. Obama made the
announcement during his trip to South
Africa, the continent's biggest
economy.
"Access to electricity is
fundamental to
opportunity in this age. It's the light that
children study by, the energy
that allows
an idea to be transformed into a
real
business. It's the lifeline for families to
meet their most basic needs, and
it's the
connection that's needed to plug
Africa
into the grid of the global economy," he
said.
Two-thirds of the population of
sub-
Saharan Africa lacks access to
electricity, including more than 85% of those
living
in rural areas, the White House
said.
"A light where currently there is
darkness -- the energy to lift people out
of poverty -- that's what
opportunity
looks like," Obama told students
at
Cape Town University. "So this is America's vision: a partnership
with
Africa for growth, and the
potential for
every citizen, not just a few at
the top." The program includes $1.5 billion
from
the U.S. Overseas Private
Investment
Corporation and $5 billion from
the Export-Import Bank, the White
House
said. Sub-Saharan Africa will need
more
than $300 billion to achieve
universal electricity access by 2030, it
said.
The preliminary setup will include
Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria,
Tanzania, Uganda and
Mozambique. "These countries have set
ambitious
goals in electric power
generation, and
are making the utility and
energy sector reforms to pave the way for
investment
and growth," a White House
statement
said.
Obama's three-nation African trip started in Senegal and will end in
Tanzania this week. The visit
aims to
bolster U.S. investment
opportunities,
address development issues such as food
security and health, and
promote
democracy.
It comes as China aggressively
engages the continent, pouring billions of
dollars
into it and replacing the United
States as
Africa's largest trading partner.
Obama applauded China's investment in
Africa, saying he is "not
threatened by
it."
Africa's greater integration into
the global economy will benefit
everyone
with the potential creation of
new jobs
and opportunities, he said.
"I'm here because I think the United
States needs to engage with a
continent
full of promise and possibility,"
Obama
said. "It's good for the United States. I
welcome the attention that
Africa is
receiving from China, Brazil, India
and
Turkey." However, he urged African
officials to
ensure that those who invest in
the
continent and its natural
resources benefit Africans in terms of jobs
and
other assets.
Obama also visited Robben Island,
where anti-apartheid icon Nelson
Mandela spent a majority of his 27-year
imprisonment, on Sunday. And he
spoke
at Cape Town University, the
site of a
famous speech by Robert F. Kennedy at
the height of apartheid in 1966.
Obama heads next to Tanzania,
where
he is scheduled to attend events
until Tuesday.
5 things Obama wants young
South
Africans to know
CNN's Laura Bernardini
contributed to this report
@Last├čornNews(07060428346)

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