Barack Obama photo

Remarks During a Tour of the Power Africa Innovation Fair in Nairobi, Kenya

July 25, 2015

Now, one other thing I want to point out: So our Power Africa initiative has been leveraging private capital to invest in electrification all across the continent. And our preliminary goal was 10,000 megawatts; now we're looking at 30,000 megawatts, and we're well on our way.

Some of those megawatts are going to be generated by very traditional power plants and the traditional financing and large-scale capital. But part of what all these folks represent is the creativity of recognizing that there are going to be a lot of ways of generating power and a lot of different distribution mechanisms. And the models that we have in the United States may not always be perfectly adaptable to a rural region of a country, where you might wait 20 years before you get all the power lines in.

Moreover, part of what's taking place is, because—you notice these solar panels—this is an opportunity for countries like Africa to leapfrog over dirty energy and immediately go to clean energy. And so this mix of traditional products—or traditional products combined with these innovative ways of both producing energy and distributing it is why we think this is going to be such a promising initiative over the next several years.

There was an article, I think a while back, about, well, how much electricity has Power Africa actually produced lately? And I would just point out that if you wanted to start a power plant in the United States, it doesn't take a year to get that done. In fact, what's happening is, is that financing, the transactions have been completed, plans are underway, and the work that is being done now, we're going to start seeing thousands, then ten of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and then ultimately millions of households all across this continent with electrical power that can boost productivity and economic growth all across the continent.

So it's really promising. We're really excited about it. All right.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:36 a.m. at the United Nations Compound.

Barack Obama, Remarks During a Tour of the Power Africa Innovation Fair in Nairobi, Kenya Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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