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Monday, July 1, 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

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