Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Electrifying Africa Based on the U.S. Rural Electrification Model

Source: Power Africa, 21st September 2017

"(...) Power Africa, a U.S.-led initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, is harnessing American experience and expertise to tackle one of the world’s biggest development challenges. (...)

Less than a century ago, 90 percent of rural communities in the United States lacked access to power, depriving Americans of access to quality health care, education, and employment. The key challenge then was the same one we see in sub-Saharan Africa today: in remote areas, utilities face higher costs and a highly dispersed lower-income customer base. Success in the U.S. required a new business model and a strong political push from President Franklin Roosevelt, who saw rural electrification as a way to drive employment, enable more efficient agriculture, and bridge the urban-rural divide.

Rural communities across the U.S. established non-profit, farmer-owned cooperatives, taking out low-interest loans from the newly created Rural Electrification Administration (REA). In under two decades, 93 percent of US farms were electrified, and the default rate on loans was less than 1 percent. Today, 897 cooperatives serve 42 million people. NRECA represents their interests and provides technical assistance around the world, including in partnership with Power Africa. So what can sub-Saharan Africa learn from the U.S. experience? (...)"

Read more at: https://medium.com/power-africa/electrifying-africa-based-on-the-u-s-rural-electrification-model-47dfa671fa9d