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Obama to unveil $7 bn Africa power plan

By AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - US President Barack Obama will on Sunday unveil a plan, worth $7 billion over five years, to upgrade African power networks in a bid to reduce electricity cuts and blackouts that scare off business investment, the White House said.

Obama will announce the plan, which leverages existing cash and private finance, during a visit to Cape Town.

The initiative, dubbed "Power Africa", aims to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, a statement said.

"Power Africa will build on Africa's enormous power potential, including new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy," it said.

It said countries involved in the plan included Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania, which have "ambitious goals" in electric power generation.

According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa will need investment of more than $300 billion to achieve universal electricity access by 2030, it noted.

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