Members of the press, distinguished guests from Home Energy Africa Limited, embassy colleagues…Good afternoon.
One of Ghana’s paramount constraints to economic growth is the unreliable and inadequate supply of electric power. It’s a challenge we see throughout sub-Saharan Africa: two out of three people lack access to electricity. That hinders business, and it hinders prosperity. Businesses and entrepreneurs need electricity to function, so they can contribute to the broad-based economic growth and development that will lift millions out of poverty.
That’s why we have made increasing access to power one of the top priorities for our bilateral relationship. Presently, Ghana has 2,450 megawatts of installed generation capacity. The government of Ghana aspires to double that capacity to 5,000 megawatts this year, including 10 percent from renewable sources. Through programs such as Power Africa, the Partnership for Growth, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we’re cooperating with government, the private sector and others to make Ghana’s future brighter.
It is my pleasure today to sign this grant targeting power generation in the Upper West Region. Through this agreement, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will provide more than $700,000 to Home Energy Africa for technical assistance to develop a 100 megawatt solar photovoltaic power generation project at Sankana [SUN-KA-na].
Home Energy Africa—a Ghanaian renewable energy solutions provider—has already undertaken extensive early stage development of the project. Now, with this grant, Home Energy will work with the U.S. firm GreenMax Capital Advisors to finalize the legal and financial details necessary to bring this solar project to fruition and start generating electricity.
That is the hallmark of USTDA’s assistance: establishing links between U.S. companies and Ghanaian project sponsors to bring private sector solutions to development challenges. While governments must support development, it is important to remember that the private sector and each one of us also have a responsibility and a role to play.
To date, USTDA has provided close to $21.5 million for Power Africa transactions and supported the development of nearly 670 megawatts of new power generation throughout Africa. Emerging markets need sustainable infrastructure; USTDA funds project planning and partnership-building activities to support that development. Here in Ghana, the agency has funded studies to improve electricity access and modernize distribution frameworks.
It is exciting to see the great things that can happen when American and Ghanaian companies partner together. We’re able to deliver products and services that benefit Ghanaians throughout this country. I applaud Home Energy Africa Limited for the work they have already undertaken on the solar power plant in the Upper West Region. We expect the work to be completed in 2017, and I look forward to seeing all of you at the commissioning.