Remarks by Ambassador Michael Raynor at the Power Africa MOU Signing

Michael Raynor 
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at the Power Africa MOU Signing
Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa
June 21, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)  

Good Afternoon,

Thank you to the Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity, Dr. Engineer Seleshi Bekele for joining us and for the strong partnership we enjoy with your ministry on both power and water issues.

I’m pleased Under Secretary Kaplan is in Ethiopia to witness the signing of this agreement as the Department of Commerce is a key partner for Power Africa.

The United States has a long history of working to support Ethiopia’s economic development.

And as Ethiopia strives to develop light-manufacturing and other industries, few things will be as important to the country’s success as having sufficient, reliable, and affordable power.

That’s why we’re here today.

This memorandum of understanding underscores the U.S. Government’s commitment to continue our support for the development of Ethiopia’s energy sector through the Power Africa Initiative, and extends our commitment to doing so through the end of the year 2023 in the Western calendar.

We welcome the progress that the Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity has achieved, with Power Africa assistance, to open doors for the private sector as Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and to meet future targets for power generation.

Some of these advances include the development of a grid code, which establishes consistent and transparent guidelines for energy stakeholders in every part of the process — from generation, through transmission and distribution, all the way to consumers.

Power Africa is assisting Ethiopian Electric Power with developing plans for generation, competitive tendering for IPP projects, and streamlined and transparent procurement process

Power Africa is also assisting Ethiopian Electric Utility with a geospatial system that will facilitate low-cost expansion of the distribution system; improve substation safety; and introduce “smart grid technology.”

At the same time, Power Africa is assisting Ethiopian Electric Authority to improve its regulatory functions, such as determining tariff rates and issuance of energy licenses and permits

And very importantly, Power Africa is assisting with off-grid area electrification models that leverage private sector capabilities to the best effect.

We hope that these efforts will support the ability of key actors in Ethiopia’s power sector to identify strong, reliable partners in the private sector who can bring expertise, quality, and value to energy projects and infrastructure investments.

In signing this memorandum of understanding, we’re recommitting the United States to work as a partner in helping Ethiopia achieve its goals in energy production and transmission – a key step toward unlocking the rich economic potential we see here.

Thank you.