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Ambitions versus policy design: Addressing issues of the Power Africa initiative's quantitative targets

Trotter, Philipp A.
Energy policy 2019 v.128 pp. 900-906
electricity, energy, issues and policy, Sub-Saharan Africa
Low energy access in sub-Saharan Africa has motivated the implementation of over 60 international electrification initiatives in the region. The US-led Power Africa initiative is one of the largest such efforts. Its central targets are to install 30 GW of additional capacity and create 60 million new connections to double electricity access by 2030. While Power Africa has received praise for its early achievements, an analysis of its targets and the rationale behind them reveals attributional, developmental and technical issues: Power Africa lacks a clear definition which criteria have to be met before African electrification projects can be counted towards fulfilling Power Africa's targets, the targets themselves appear to be too low to deliver on Power Africa's promises, and they exhibit several technical inconsistencies. Crucially, this paper argues that contrary to the Trump administration's intention to reduce its funds, Power Africa's targets and efforts need to be increased to meet the initiative's own ambitions.