Politics

Exclusive: Obama Plan to ‘Power Africa’ Gets Off to a Dim Start

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President Barack Obama listens to a question during his news conference at US African Leaders Summit, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 at the State Department in Washington. Obama and dozens of African leaders opened talks Wednesday on two key issues that threaten to disrupt economic progress on the continent: security and government corruption. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama listens to a question during his news conference at US African Leaders Summit, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

(Reuters) – Barack Obama last year told a cheering crowd in Cape Town that a $7 billion plan to “Power Africa” would double electricity output on the world’s poorest continent and bring “light where currently there is darkness”.

A year later, the U.S. president’s flagship project for Africa has already achieved 25 percent of its goal to deliver 10,000 megawatts of electricity and bring light to 20 million households and businesses, according to its annual report.

But the five-year plan has not yet delivered the power.

Power Africa has not measured its progress by counting actual megawatts added to the grid but promises of additional power made in deals it says it helped negotiate, according to sources inside the project and documents seen by Reuters.

Some projects facilitated by Power Africa — a program operated by the U.S. aid agency USAID — were under way years before the scheme’s inception, others are still in the planning stage.

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