Today, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker kicked off her second day in Ghana at the Electric Company of Ghana (ECG) as part of the Commerce Department’s West Africa Energy Business Development Mission. During the site visit, she spoke about the strong relationship between Ghana and the United States and the importance of partnering with private sector businesses to help Ghana reach its energy potential.
During the site visit, Secretary Pritzker specifically addressed the importance of the Administration’s Power Africa initiative and reiterated the U.S. commitment to improving economic prosperity in West Africa through investment in the energy sector.
President Obama announced Power Africa last year as an initiative to double the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. With more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to reliable electricity, the power development challenge is enormous. More than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, including more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas. According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa needs more than $300 billion in investments to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 – far beyond the capacity of any traditional development program. As part of Power Africa, the United States will commit more than $7 billion in financial support over the next five years to this effort.
The trade mission, Secretary Pritzker’s third since taking office last summer, will promote U.S. exports to Africa by helping U.S. companies’ launch or increase their business in the energy sector in West Africa. The firms joining the mission have the expertise to help African countries develop and manage energy resources and systems, as well as build out power generation, transmission, and distribution.
Africa is home to seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, and helping U.S. business expand their presence in these African markets is a top priority for the Department of Commerce and the Administration.