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Energy challenge highlights plight of communities

06 November 2013, 16:47Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - The initiators of the Energy Innovation Challenge believe the competition is playing a key role in increasing awareness of the plight communities that lacked access to power.

The competition, also known as the Off-Grid Energy Challenge, is the initiative of global infrastructure giants General Electric (GE) and the United States Africa Development Foundation (USADF).

Ahead of the announcement of winners, Jay Ireland, President and Chief Executive Officer at GE Africa, said he was excited that the challenge is generating increased awareness about the difficulties of communities that are either underserved by the national grid or are not connected.

“We have no doubt that great solutions will emerge from this initiative, which will ultimately provide some insight to how to tackle some of the off-grid energy challenges in Africa,” he said.

Shari Berenbach, President and CEO of USADF said the initiative will help leverage more marginalized and underserved communities into positions where they could engage in and benefit from inclusive economic growth.

She said over the last 30 years, the USADF has championed initiatives that had contributed to catalyzing Africans out of poverty.

“We are proud to be in partnership with GE on this initiative, which clearly resonates with everything that USADF stands for,” said Shari.

Meanwhile, the winners of the competition will be revealed on November 21.

Winners are to emerge from Nigeria and Kenya where the off-grid challenge is been held.

The judges will be looking out for off-grid energy solutions that have created innovative approaches to metering, payment, collections or transmission. They are also looking out for entries that deliver sustainable energy to underserved marginal populations without degrading the environment.

More than 20 individuals and indigenous African companies who come up with innovative solutions that address the energy challenges of African communities stand a chance of winning up to $100 000 in grants to support their initiatives.

The initiative is in line with the Power Africa initiative announced by United States President Barack Obama during his visit to Africa earlier this year.

The Power Africa initiative seeks to drive growth in Africa by increasing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power by helping to ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources on the continent.


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