Transmission Roadmap: Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator, Power Africa

Transmission Roadmap: Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator, Power Africa  image

Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator, Power Africa discusses the entity’s Transmission Roadmap.

On day two of February 2019’s 5th Annual Powering Africa Summit, Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator of USAID-driven initiative, Power Africa will discuss the entity’s Transmission Roadmap.

Highlighting the importance of uniting behind a common vision in order to extend and support grid stability, the critical thinking workshop will not only provide an overview of the current network, but a forecast of how the Roadmap may change the face of this network over the course of the next 10-20 years.

“Under our Power Africa 2.0 strategy, which we launched last year at the Powering Africa Summit, transmission and distribution will be prioritised,” Herscowitz introduces. “We took stock and realised that many of the generation deals we had been supporting would likely lead to excess capacity, and if countries are able to unlock cross-border trade, that excess capacity can be traded, and companies and countries won’t lose money on those projects. 

“The Transmission Roadmap that we launched in November is our analysis of which transmission lines should be prioritised to allow that trade to happen as quickly as possible, before the excess generation capacity comes online.”

Eight key goals have been identified within the Roadmap, each of them being realistically targeted for completion by 2030. These range from advancing regional transmission by unlocking cross-border electricity trade through priority projects, to facilitating a pre-existing ambition to increase access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, to increase generation capacity by 30,000 MW, and to create 60 million new connections.

Herscowitz continues: “The Roadmap builds upon the significant transmission work already underway by Power Africa partners to accelerate efficient power markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Other targets for 2030 include 7,500MW of transmission capacity installed; $3 billion in transmission-related investment mobilised; 5,000 kilometres of transmission lines installed; and 10 transmission projects brought to financial close.”


A credible and reliable one-stop shop for power investments

Power Africa was launched back in 2013 with the initial ambition of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. From that genesis, there was a quick realisation that to address the energy deficit and the more-than 600 million people without access to electricity, a collaborative approach would be needed. A subsequent, global, partnership model was adopted and to this day, the priority remains to attract more private investment via alternative financing models and increased dialogue with sector protagonists.

“We compile the tools that each partner organisation offers into our Power Africa Toolbox, and we believe we have created a credible and reliable one-stop-shop for companies seeking to invest in the power sector,” Herscowitz explains. 
As a result of its strategy, Power Africa has already helped more than 50 million people to gain access to electricity for the first time; as well as assisting 119 projects to reach financial close, and while currently tracking more than 880 projects across the continent.

It is this scope that makes Power Africa’s affiliation with the Powering Africa Summit so understandable and fruitful, with both able to boast a proven track record of drawing investment and in facilitating partnerships that lead to real results.

“We have seen deals get unstuck, in real time, at the Summit,” Herscowitz says. “We can also meet with dozens of partners and government officials from all over the world over just a few days to help advance deals.

“We are excited to be involved with the Summit again this year, and we hope that it’s the best yet!”


On-track to reach continental goals

African ministries have made a point of asking donors and investors to collaborate more effectively, and this is precisely what events like the Powering Africa Summit, and initiatives like Power Africa are trying to achieve by working closely with the private sector and by understanding the needs of investors and project developers. 

“We will work with our development partners to figure out who can fund these projects; then we will work with governments and parastatals to get these lines built; and finally, we’ll get that electricity moving from one country to another,” Herscowitz affirms. 

Power Africa has a goal of 30,000 MW and 60 million connections by 2030. In a mere 12 years, to reach those goals, it will need to add 20,000 megawatts and 48 million connections, based on tracked results to date. 

However, in the build-up to 2019’s Powering Africa Summit, and Power Africa’s eagerly anticipated Transmission Roadmap networking session, Herscowitz remains confident: “You might be saying that we will never meet those goals, but given the fact that we’re tracking more than 800 projects on the continent, prioritising a means by which to get electricity to the people of sub-Saharan Africa, and working with the private sector; we do believe we are on track to reach those goals. 

“We believe that if we have done our jobs well, by 2030 there will be no need for Power Africa to exist as it now does. As USAID Administrator, Mark Green often says, “we believe the goal of development is to end the need for its existence”.”

For more information regarding the session that Andrew M. Herscowitz will be speaking on at the upcoming Summit, please download the brochure.