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The US energy project known as “Power Africa” has added 30,000 new solar connections in Nigeria, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, said in a statement in Abuja on Monday. The US, through its Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), had in 2016 signed an agreement with Lumos, an off-grid electricity provider, to enhance the provision of solar electricity to homes and small businesses throughout Nigeria.

Two out of three people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. Power Africa was launched in 2013 to bring together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power.

It was also reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Lumos was also a recipient of catalytic funding through OPIC and the Africa Clean Energy Finance initiative, a partner with the US State Department. The funding provided crucial start-up capital for 30 innovative clean energy projects across 10 African countries.

Lumos offers clean and affordable solar power to a market of 1.3 billion potential customers who live off the electricity grid. By offering solar power as a service, it offers homes and small businesses a simple and affordable way to pay in small installments using their mobile phones.

The envoy, accompanied by the Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission, Mr Michael Harvey, had during a courtesy visit to Lumos customers in Abuja emphasised the need to expand electricity access in Nigeria. According to him, the visit is a fact-finding assessment as USAID works with partners to grow the programme.

“With market intelligence provided by USAID and financing provided by OPIC, Lumos has added 30,000 new solar connections in Nigeria since the beginning of the partnership,” he said. The ambassador also stressed the need to expand on and off grid access to energy to enhance business activities.

“Expanding both on and off grid access to energy will not only help individuals and businesses, but will help overcome some of the obstacles to Nigeria being able to fulfill its full economic potential. I met a number of people today whose lives have been profoundly changed by access to efficient and reliable energy. And I am excited to see this ongoing partnership expand to ensure greater access to solar energy throughout Nigeria,” he said.

NAN also reports that till date, “Power Africa” has mobilised 40 billion dollars in private sector commitments in order to increase access to electricity through both on and off grid generation and distribution projects across sub-Saharan Africa.

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