Obama's Power Africa & the continent's Energy problems - CNBC Africa

Obama's Power Africa & the continent's Energy problems

Southern Africa

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Power Africa looks to increase access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. PHOTO: KPMG

The initiative looks to increase the number of people who have access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lai Yahaya, team leader for President Obama's Power Africa Senior Advisors Group, says following the Africa Leaders’ Summit, held in Washington DC, he is positive at the fact that African countries are intensifying efforts to reform and to liberalise environments.

(READ MORE: General Electric joins Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge)

“What Power Africa is trying to do is bringing together the support available from a number of US agencies.  But in a sense really it’s just recognising the importance of power sector development,” said Yahaya to CNBC Africa.


One of the major hindrances that the continent faces is not being able to meet the energy demands of the rapidly growing population.

“The biggest challenge is ‘how do you reach rural populations?’ So it’s not just meeting the demands of the youth budge, it’s how do you meet rural populations in a way in which is cost effective for  private sector operations to be able to provide electricity,” he said.

Yahaya says there is a lot of talk about various kinds of energy resources and which is best but at the end of the day the continent just needs a sustainable source of energy.  

(READ MORE: Energy is sub-Saharan Africa's gold)

“The concern I have about some of the discussion about renewables or non-renewables or solar and various things is that. Frankly because of the demand we need to use whatever resources we have.”

Moving forward, Yahaya says that with all the new technology developments the cost of providing solar-powered energy has decrease, making it more affordable for the masses.