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RTI will expand clean and affordable energy across East and Central Africa through new Power Africa project

The project will provide 50 million people [from Somalia to Gabon] access to new or improved electricity generated from cleaner fuel sources

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - RTI International, a nonprofit research institute and leading international development organization, has been selected by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to lead a new project, the Power Africa Empower East and Central Africa (EECA). EECA will expand modern, reliable and affordable electricity in East and Central Africa while supporting inclusive economic growth and improved health and education outcomes. 

USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced EECA at the Africa Energy Forum on June 21 in Nairobi, Kenya. In her remarks, Power said that “Over the next five years, this single Power Africa initiative alone expects to provide more than 50 million more people in the region with new or improved electricity, and it will reduce, sequester, or avoid 6.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of taking about a million and a half cars off the road for a year.”

Almost half of all Africans without access to electricity live in east and central Africa. Under EECA, we will work with local partners to scale up on- and off grid solutions to energy to households, businesses, health clinics, schools, and universities and to expand green jobs and transportation across the region. EECA will work to increase funding for off-grid projects and companies and improve the enabling environment in each country. The work will further equity in the energy sector workforce and identify opportunities for women and vulnerable populations to shape energy decision-making across the region.

“Energy affordability has become a great concern but through EECA we are working to address the region’s challenges and opportunities in a holistic and adaptable way, with a focus on achieving rapid progress toward clean energy affordability, reliability and sustainability,” said Tatyana Marshall, vice president of energy at RTI. “EECA will support local partners to identify localized solutions that benefit local communities, protect the natural environment, and address climate risks.”

With their abundant renewable energy resources, EECA countries have the opportunity to meet their energy demands and expand low-carbon economic growth that improves lives and helps people adapt to the changing climate while reducing emissions. Through EECA, USAID and Power Africa will support another 10 million on- and off-grid connections for households and businesses, mobilize $4.7 billion and expand productive use of energy (PUE) systems with the goal of benefitting 50 million people, some of which will have access to electricity for the first time.

EECA will build on significant gains made by Power Africa over the past decade in increasing energy access and ending energy poverty. Under the predecessor programs (East Africa Energy Program and Power Africa Off-grid Program), RTI supported Power Africa with over 9 million on- and off-grid connections in the region, 70,000 PUE systems, electrification of nearly 230 health facilities, and leveraged $1.6 billion in public and private investment. 

Read USAID's announcement

Learn more about RTI’s work in Energy for Development