Obama: Step up power projects

As he wrapped up his tour of Africa yesterday, President Barack Obama urged countries that are part of the multi-billion dollar Power Africa project to get cracking on the ventures agreed on. 

During a brief visit to the Symbion Power Plant in Ubungo in Dar es Salaam, President Obama said delays would benefit neither the countries nor their people.

Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo told journalists soon after that Tanzania, one of eight beneficiaries, has already handed its list of projects to the US embassy. Most of those projects target rural residents.

The US has set aside a $7billion kitty and the private sector is to inject $9 billion into the project, which is based on the public private partnership model. 

“But the projects should be implemented quickly if the environmental impact assessment is complete, the project write-up is ready and preparation work is complete,” the minister said. “We can’t afford to wait seven to eight years.”

Mr Muhongo cautioned, though, that the need to hasten the project should not jeopardise quality. “We want speed,” he said, “but also need to do it right.”

To start with, Power Africa aims at doubling the number of people who have electricity, which works out to about 20 million homes and businesses in eight nations--Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia. 

The US is committed to helping Africa capitalise on its potential, President Obama said, and the time has come for the continent to move from receiver of aid to donor.

Power Africa is touted as one of mechanisms by which the US, African governments and the private sector could marshal resources and transform the lives of millions of people and economies, catapulting them to a win-win position. 

President Obama added: “The US has adopted this new approach to development of helping countries stand on their own feet and stop being recipients of aid and become donors themselves.”

As African countries attract investment, their people should be able to augment their income--and the US too would benefit from the higher production, which would traditionally require investment from US to maintain.

During his tour of the power plant, Mr Obama said he was impressed by a technology that involves producing electricity using soccer balls. 

Ms Jessica Matthews, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Uncharted Play Inc--innovator of the technology--told President Obama and his host, President Jakaya Kikwete, that the gas inside the ball produces electricity as it is kicked. “After about 30 minutes, you can get enough gas to power one bulb for hours,” said Ms Matthews.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Peter Nyanje in Dar es Salaam
Share on Google Plus

About Abduel Elinaza

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.