June 30 - U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled on Sunday (June 30) a $7 billion initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, in what could be his presidency's signature program to benefit Africa.
Powering Africa to empower the continent. That was the message from Barack Obama on Sunday, when he announced a $7 billion initiative to double the access to electric power across sub-Saharan Africa in five years. (SOUNDBITE) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBMA SAYING: "We've been dealing with agriculture, we've been dealing with health, now we're going to talk about power. Power Africa, a new initiative that will double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. Double it." Speaking at the University of Cape Town in South Africa Obama said, to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy, you've got to have power. (SOUNDBITE) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBMA SAYING: "In partnership with African nations, we are going to develop new sources of energy that will reach more households, not just in cities but in villages and on farms. We'll expand access to those who live currently off the power grid and we'll support clean energy to protect our planet and combat climate change. " Obama's been faulted for not having a 'grand program' to benefit Africa -- like the HIV/AIDS initiative of President George W. Bush, or reductions in trade barriers achieved by Bill Clinton. The power initiative unveiled on Sunday could provide Obama with just such a signature program.