The US Government has announced it will upgrade its Power Africa initiative, which aims to bring electricity to millions in the world’s most power-starved continent. Originally launched by President Obama, Power Africa is intended to support an additional 20,000 megawatts of power in Africa by 2020, mainly through sharing expertise and mobilising private sector funds. It is hoped that an extra 50 million people will receive access to energy if the target is met. Progress has been patchy however, and the scale of the challenge is immense: 600 million Africans still lack access to electricity. In a speech in Washington last week, Power Africa administrator Mark Green announced plans for “Power Africa 2.0”, which will focus on achieving higher levels of energy access through the latest energy technologies. Power Africa 2.0 is likely to dovetail with the work of America’s planned Clean Coal Alliance, the international network set up to make clean coal technology more widely available in coal-rich, energy poor developing nations like Nigeria, Tanzania and Bangladesh. The White House believes that it is only by backing cheap, reliable baseload electricity alongside renewables that Africa will have a chance to industrialise. “…No continent and no sector is better positioned to leverage the combination of technological innovation and enterprise-driven development and what it can do to lift lives and build communities,’ Mr Green said.