Today is World Humanitarian Day, a United Nations (U.N.) commemoration to “celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world.” This year, the UN’s theme is “The World Needs More…”
As anyone who works in global development knows, there are many ways to answer that sentence. This year, OPIC highlights the world’s need for more power. Not only does a large share of the world live without any regular access to electricity, but these shortages impact almost every aspect of life, limiting food production, education and small business activity.
The need is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 600 million people lack access to reliable electricity. OPIC has supported multiple projects to bring more power to the continent and is now playing a key role in President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, designed to double access to power on the continent; and in the U.S. Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) program, which supports small-scale African renewable energy projects in their critical early stages.
Here, a team of Rwandan workers helps to construct the 8.5 megawatt GigaWatt Global solar power project, one of the power projects that was supported by ACEF funding. GigaWatt Global will be Rwanda’s first grid-connected solar project when complete.
The world needs many things, like food, education, healthcare and opportunity – but access to electricity is a catalyzer for these other needs.