Obama’s pledges $7 billion for African electricity

Forget sequester, forget the deficit, President Obama just pledged $7 billion “in U.S. Government funds” to help combat power blackouts in sub-Saharan Africa. Obama made the announcement while in South Africa, the region with the continent’s largest economy.

While funding will be distributed over a five-year period, the amount seems a bit extreme to underwrite for a country with trillion dollar deficits.

Access to electricity is fundamental to opportunity in this age. It’s the light that children study by, the energy that allows an idea to be transformed into a real business,” Obama said while in Africa. “It’s the lifeline for families to meet their most basic needs, and it’s the connection that’s needed to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy.”

According to a statement by the White House, “two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to electricity, including more than 85% of those living in rural areas.”

The program includes $1.5 billion from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and $5 billion from the Export-Import Bank, according to a report by CNN. Estimates say more than $300 billion will be needed to achieve success in the sub-Saharan African project.

Watch Obama’s comments regarding the investment via CNN here.

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