StanChart powers Obama's ‘Power Africa’ campaign - CNBC Africa

StanChart powers Obama's ‘Power Africa’ campaign

Special Report

by Trust Matsilele 0

US President's Power Africa campaign received a boost from StanChart. PHOTO: Getty Images

The bank increased its pledge from two billion US dollars to five billion US dollars after reaching its initial commitment in 12 months.

Launched in 2013, the Power Africa campaign aims to boost access to electricity in the continent whose bigger population is currently without power.

(READ MORE: General Electric joins Power Africa off-grid energy challenge)

According to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), about 600 million, an estimated 70 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa are without electricity.

The agency adds that much of the continent experiences regular blackouts and brownouts and emergency power sources cost too much for many homes and businesses.

Power Africa seeks to provide the tools needed to overcome the barriers that have constrained Africa’s power sector, and its economic growth and development.

(READ MORE: US working to power Africa's electricity goals)

“Over our 150 years of history in Africa, we have always strived to contribute to social and economic development, financing trade and investment across the continent,” Peter Sands, group chief executive of Standard Chartered, said.  

“A lack of access to electricity is one of Africa’s most critical infrastructure challenges. With our extended commitment to the Power Africa initiative we expect to add around 7,500 megawatts to Africa’s power grid – equivalent to the electricity production capacity of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.”

Academic research has shown that the under-performance of Africa’s power infrastructure has restricted economic growth, reducing per capita GDP growth by 0.11 per cent per year for the continent as a whole.

Growth has also been reduced by as much as 0.2 per cent in Southern Africa where mining and manufacturing – the big industrial users of electricity – have traditionally been more important. 

According to StanChart, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy’s current power output is approximately 4,000 megawatts, but the country’s demand is sitting at 10,000 megawatts.

(READ MORE: Nigeria looking to boost power supply)

“It is estimated that if Nigeria could close this infrastructure gap, it would raise economic growth by three percentage points, equating to just over USD15 billion annually.”