The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and Power Africa recently announced a new strategic partnership arrangement focused on increasing regional power interconnections and generation among the Nile Equatorial Lakes countries.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Tina Dooley-Jones, the Deputy Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kenya East Africa Regional Mission and Eng Innocent Ntabana, the Executive Director of the NBI Secretariat on 19th October, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. This was on the sidelines of the 19th Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers (NELCOM) Meeting.
The MoU includes a commitment to provide and strengthen NELSAP's Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) and its Member States with technical assistance to accelerate the development of regional power generation, transmission and interconnection projects. The United States and NBI also agree to strengthen the capacity of NELSAP Member States to more efficiently plan, build, operate and manage cross-border electricity interconnections to maintain a reliable interconnected power system.
"I am pleased today to sign this Memorandum of Understanding, on behalf of the United States Government and in support of the Power Africa initiative, which represents a new strategic partnership with NBI and NELSAP," said Ms. Dooley-Jones. She added that "NELSAP plays an important catalytic role in promoting sound regional infrastructure development and regional integration, and I am certain that this partnership will further advance our common commitment to electrifying the Nile Basin region."
Eng. Ntabana noted that NBI has for a long time collaborated with a number of Power Africa Partners, including the African Development Bank, World Bank, Sweden, Government of Norway, KFW, European Union and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), among others. "We are thrilled now work more closely with the United States Government through USAID to increase access to energy for the people across the Nile Basin region and in particular East Africa," he said.
Additionally, through this strategic partnership, Power Africa will provide the NELSAP-CU Coordination Unit in Kigali, Rwanda with a full-time resident technical power adviser and short-term technical assistance that will include strategic and technical guidance to enable accelerated preparation of new projects and implementation of priority regional power generation and interconnection projects.
This new partnership between the United States and NBI/NELSAP builds on Power Africa's broad coalition of public and private sector partners. It will help accelerate progress towards the shared goal of Power Africa partners to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.