Humans are naturally in position to favor competition. The key is triggering that competition spirit. USADF, United States Africa Development Foundation, is doing just that. Recently, 22 innovators from six African countries have emerged as winners of the second round of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge sponsored by General Electric (GE), (USADF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As reported, they will receive a grant of $100,000 each for kick starting off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and contribute to powering socio-economic activities.
In November of 2013, six winners from Nigeria and Kenya were awarded six grants totaling $ 600,000. This year, the program has been expanded to include Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana and Liberia. Organizers received about 300 applications from the six countries. Speaking about the awards, Jay Ireland GE Africa President & CEO said, “we are impressed by the response to our call for entries and more so with the caliber of entries especially from the countries that are participating for the first time. This once again demonstrates that with the right support, the people of Africa can develop home-grown solutions for themselves.”
What is Power Africa?
Power Africa is a broad U.S. Government initiative to drive growth by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power and helping to ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources. Working with public and private sector partners, this initiative will achieve these results: Increasing electricity generation; Increasing electricity access — with a focus on both on-grid and off-grid or micro-grid solutions; Increasing cross border energy trade; and, ensuring responsible and transparent management of energy resources
Initial countries targeted include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Liberia.
USADF believes its greatest contribution to Power Africa is in increasing electricity access to underserved communities in the target countries. To achieve that end it launched an off-grid energy challenge to promote innovative and sustainable ways to deliver energy to underserved communities.
The USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge
US African Development Foundation partnered with GE Africa to promote innovative solutions that develop, scale-up or extend the use of proven technologies for off-grid energy – reaching communities not served by existing power grids. This $2.4 million challenge will award grants of up $100,000 each to African companies and organizations providing off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power local economic activities. Challenge winners will have near-term solutions to the power needs of productive and commercial activities, including agriculture production and processing, off-farm businesses, and commercial enterprises.