Japan joins Power Africa, with a focus on geothermal technology

A campaign to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa just got a boost.

Japan has joined Power Africa, an initiative President Obama announced in 2013. Japan has committed to bring 1,200 megawatts of power online. As part of its agreement, Japan will work with African governments to develop renewable geothermal power, which is heat derived from the Earth.

In East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, where two of the Earth’s tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart, geothermal energy is low-cost, and low in carbon emissions.

Two government officials signing papers (Eric Onyiego/Power Africa)
Seiji Okada (right) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan signs a new partnership with Linda Etim of USAID to join Power Africa. (Eric Onyiego/Power Africa)

More than 100 private-sector partners, host governments and multilateral organizations are participating in Power Africa. The goal is to help the estimated two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa who currently lack electricity.

Japan’s partnership in Power Africa also helps the world make progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring that all people have access to affordable and clean energy by 2030.

Japan’s decision “sends a strong message to African people that our governments are taking the issue of energy poverty seriously,” said Seiji Okada, Japan’s ambassador for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

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