This week, Secretary of State John Kerry and Thomas R. Kuhn, President of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), signed a joint statement of intent for collaborative action in support of the modernization of electric utilities worldwide.
The State Department and EEI will work together towards the shared goal of accelerating electric power sector reform and development in fragile and underdeveloped markets in which energy access challenges are most prevalent.
One of the first examples of this collaboration will be the U.S.-Africa Utility Power Sector Exchange project, which State and EEI will jointly implement to advance electric power sector reform in select countries in Africa. This public-private partnership combines the best of the private sector with U.S. diplomatic leadership to deepen and broaden U.S. support for expanding clean energy access and improving energy efficiency to help modernize Africa’s electric utilities. Specifically, the Exchange is designed to enhance and deepen African utility CEOs’ expertise on cutting edge power sector management issues.
The Exchange will kick-off with a summit in Washington, D.C., on April 6, 2017. This exchange is part of Power Africa, which is a U.S. Government-led initiative with the goal of increasing electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by adding more than 30,000 megawatts of reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections.
Energy is an essential foundation for economic growth, political stability, and national security in every part of the world. This reality is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through which nations acknowledge that universal access to safe, affordable, reliable, clean and modern energy for all is integral to the eradication of poverty.
However, worldwide more than 1 billion people are without access to electricity. Even when energy services are available, millions of poor people are unable to pay for them. In response to this reality, the State Department and EEI have pledged to work together to promote access through modernization.