University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Center for African Studies

Power Africa: Promises, Potentials, Pitfalls, and Possible Alternatives

March 2 - 4, 2015

ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center Heritage Room 1101 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

Old Fort of Zanzibar


“Power Africa: Promises, Potentials, Pitfalls, and Possible Alternatives” is the first US conference to bring together a global community of scholars and practitioners to examine President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative (PAI).The President launched the PAI in the summer of 2013 with an injection of $6.5 billion dedicated to growing energy delivery capacity across the continent. Since that time, major corporations in the energy sector have joined the PAI, adding more the $9 billion to the investment flow. With Africa holding more than half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without access to electricity.

Power Africa represents an opportunity to greatly enhance the quality of millions of people’s lives. Our conference probes these possibilities. At the same time, with this potential also come questions of enormous significance such as “Who will control and ultimately benefit from expanded energy capacity?” Conference participants from the US, Canada, and the African continent examine large-scale energy development projects in African countries in order to ascertain what lessons can be learned and how Power Africa might be shaped to ensure participation of and optimum results for the rural and urban poor.