OPIC’s CEO gives keynote address at Powering Africa Summit
OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth L. Littlefield addressed Powering Africa, the first Power Africa Summit held in the United States, on Jan. 30, where she told a group of private sector and government officials from the United States and Africa that reforms in energy subsidies could help spur investments in Africa’s power sector.
Power Africa is a U.S. Government initiative aimed at increasing the number of people who have access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, where widespread energy poverty impacts millions. Littlefield outlined several ways governments in Africa can help support increased electricity generation on the continent and said that widespread energy subsidies in Africa distort market signals and hamstring investment in renewable energy. With falling fossil fuel prices, she said it is a good time for governments to reform subsidies with limited consequences.
Littlefield also suggested other ways governments could improve investment climates to attract business, including enhancing the rule of law and adopting tax reforms. In addition, Littlefield also recommended a bankable Power Purchasing Agreement as a framework document to help unlock all of the positive development from new African power projects.