USAID’s Power Africa Launches Partnership to Electrify Health Facilities Across Sub-Saharan Africa as Part of President Biden’s Global Infrastructure Initiative

Today, as part of the catalytic global infrastructure initiative announced by President Biden at the Carbis Bay G7 Summit last year, USAID’s Power Africa announced plans for a new public and private sector alliance that will electrify an additional 10,000 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa over the next eight to ten years.

The Healthcare Electrification and Telecommunication Alliance will enhance health services and assist in COVID-19 response efforts by providing reliable, renewable, and affordable electricity in healthcare facilities across sub-Saharan Africa. Electrifying and digitally connecting health facilities with a mobile network connection will strengthen vaccine cold chains, reduce health supply wastage, shore up digital health infrastructure to improve service access and delivery, facilitate information sharing, and support electronic medical records. It will also allow for realtime infection and disease rate monitoring, surveillance, and reporting, especially the most vulnerable populations of women and children. This initiative will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing a clean renewable power source and relieving reliance on diesel generators.

Powering Healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the stark reality that many health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa do not have reliable electricity. According to the World Health Organization only 28 percent of health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have access to affordable, reliable power.

Alliance members currently total more than 30, including GAVI, UNICEF, SE4All, UNDP, IRENA, Abt Associates, Bechtel, Orange, RESOLVE, Shell Foundation, CDC Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation/Odyssey, We Care Solar, Chevron, Pinset Masons, and World Vision.

An estimated 100,000 public health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to reliable power and internet connectivity. Power Africa projects through its off grid program have already provided clean and reliable electricity to 227 health facilities serving over 2 million people in the region. The new initiative expands on Power Africa’s recent achievements in electrifying healthcare facilities, a new public-private alliance in Sierra Leone, and the UN Multilateral Health Electrification Compact launched at the 2021 UN high level dialogue on energy.