US gives boost to Korea’s $1 billion electricity project in Africa

The United States government has further shown commitment towards the Republic of Korea’s $1 billion contribution to boost electricity supply to African countries, as a way of ensuring that the dream to light up the African subregion becomes a reality.

An indication to this emerged on Wednesday in Washington, during an ongoing United States/Korea reporting tour being embarked upon by African journalists who arrived Washington D. C, on Tuesday.

Earlier before this recent development, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) had, celebrated a historic celebration of “partnership, progress, and friendship between both countries, in the far North-East country, a partnership which is believed will soon bring smiles to the faces of power users in Africa.

With this initiative, the U. S. had lauded the government of Korea, for being the first new partner to commit itself to specifically financing critical transmission line infrastructure, to the tune of a billion dollars’ worth of power project, and 1,000 kilometers of new transmission lines which is believed on completion will connect people and industry to the new power plants “Power Africa” is helping to build.

The U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator (USAID), Mark Green, who lauded the Korean initiative in his remark at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Korea on the UNSAID-led Power Africa Initiative in May, 2018, said, the Power Africa is one of the U.S. government’s most ambitious and innovative assistance tools, which not only brings together several of its agencies, but it is powered by private enterprise.

Green, had disclosed in his published remark that the initiative will result in electricity being extended for the first time to more than 50 million Africans, as he expressed confidence that this laudable project had shown the real American strength towards developmental initiatives in Africa.

Green said he believes “the purpose of our international assistance must be ending its very need to exist. And we say that not because we seek to retreat from our friends.”

Rather, he said, “all to the contrary: we say it because we believe in our friends. We believe in them, and we believe in their potential. And there is no better story illustrating those principles and that journey than Korea, a country which, years ago, rose from the very ashes of war to achieve first self-reliance and then prosperity. And now, Korea is looking to help others as they take on their own journey to self-reliance.”

“America is proud to have played a small part in this process, building on the values that we share; values like democracy, free enterprise, and respect for human dignity,” Green said.

He said the MOU signed with the ROK in 2018 on the Power Africa project, “is more than a piece of paper,” rather, “it symbolises two great friends dedicating themselves to work together so that others might have a brighter future. Power Africa is one of the U.S.”

This dream to light up Africa, seen as part of the real strength of America towards development in the continent, ultimately, according to Green, is aimed at adding at least 30,000 megawatts of new electrical power capacity and 60 million electrical connections by the year 2030, reaching 300 million Africans.

“As we like to say in America, this will be a game-changer in the overall effort to electrify Africa,” USAID said in its report, charging the ROK Deputy Prime Minister, saying, “we are grateful for your partnership and we know that together we can do incredible things for Africa,” Green said.

Closing his remark, Green said, I can’t help but point out that the approach underlying both this MOU and Power Africa is in contrast to the approach that a few other powers, more authoritarian powers, like to push.

“They sometimes offer easy money and quick results. What some of our friends discover only too late is that this easy money is built mostly on debt, often unsustainable debt, debt that threatens economic independence and control over resources. America and South Korea both offer a clear choice, a better choice. We offer an opportunity for partners to rise and fulfill their people’s aspirations and their countries’ economic destiny,” Green said.

Consequently, Green said the power project was a celebration of enterprise-driven assistance, “not really a loan, not a handout, but together, we offer a hand-up. We celebrate two great friends coming together to offer others a chance at self-reliance, an opportunity to be economically independent, a chance to become the next Korea.”

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