DOE's Office of International Affairs coordinates efforts to support Africa’s economic and energy growth and stability by facilitating increased U.S. energy exports to Africa energy investment in this strategic region. Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world and a middle class projected to grow to more than one billion in the coming years. Currently, only 2% of American exports go to Africa, demonstrating the huge potential for growth for U.S. exports.

The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 (“Electrify Africa”) provides a partnership framework to reduce poverty, drive economic growth, and create jobs through increased energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, Electrify Africa calls for an increase of 20,000 megawatts (MW) and 50 million connections by 2020, and emphasizes the importance of increased private sector investment to reach these goals. 

Initiatives under Electrify Africa are coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with strong interagency participation. DOE's Office of International Affairs (IA) is a key member of the interagency working group and offers technical, and energy policy expertise to the working group in two ways:

  • Providing expertise on energy technologies to U.S. government agencies and African governments through access to DOE program offices and our network of national laboratories; and
  • Supporting the development of government policy, regulatory, and commercial frameworks that increase private investment in the energy sector and encourage utilization of a diverse set of energy solutions.

Highlights of DOE engagement with African partners include:

  • IA organized the third U.S. Africa Energy Ministerial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from June 3-4, 2014. For more information please follow this link.
  • South Africa: IA, together with DOE’s program offices, works closely with various South African entities on natural gas development, energy efficiency, and renewable energy supported by a U.S.-South Africa Bilateral Energy Dialogue that is organized by the Office of International Affairs.
  • Morocco: In November 2016, DOE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment and the Research Institute in Solar Energy & New Energy for the First Solar Decathlon Africa to take place in 2019.
  • Natural Gas Technical Assistance for African Emerging Gas Producers: With Power Africa funding, DOE’s IA, working with the Office of Fossil Energy and U.S. natural gas companies and other market experts produced an LNG Handbook in 2016 and plans to organize at least 2-3 workshops in Africa to discuss gas and LNG development as part of this program.
  • East Africa Geothermal: With Power Africa funding, DOE’s IA, working together with DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the National Labs, is supporting improved geothermal modeling capabilities among East African geothermal scientists, which has the potential to unlock new investment opportunities, particularly in Kenya’s geothermal sector. 
  • Clean Energy Solutions Center: In partnership with Power Africa, the Clean Energy Solutions Center, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial that is led by DOE’s IA and other country partners, is advancing clean energy market opportunities, improving energy access across the African continent, and building capacity by providing policymakers with clean energy policy and finance advisory support, live webinars, and policy resources.  
  • Angola: With support from Sonangol, DOE’s IA, together with the National renewable Energy Laboratory organized a solar energy training workshop for Angolan engineers and technicians. 
  • Botswana: DOE’s IA, working together with DOE’s Office of Electricity welcomed visitors from Botswana for a technical study tour as the Botswana government explores options to increase electricity access. 
  • Nigeria: DOE’s IA was part of two interagency teams that traveled to Nigeria to evaluate energy sector governance (2013) and the state of Nigeria’s power and natural gas industries (2015). DOE also actively participates in interagency groups working on opening up Nigeria’s energy sector.