U.S. to Invest Up to $498 Million in Ghana’s Electricity Network

Aug 04, 2014 8:12 pm ET

(For more on the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, click here.)

Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. will invest as much as $498.2 million over five years to improve Ghana’s electricity network as part of an effort to spur private investment and help the West African nation become a regional energy hub.

The Millennium Challenge Corp., an independent U.S. agency that focuses on foreign aid, will initially provide $308.2 million to upgrade generators and power lines, among other projects, according to a statement. It will make another $190 million available if Ghana meets certain targets, which the government corporation didn’t specify.

“Energy is increasingly becoming a constraint to growth in Africa,” Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama said today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, where he described the initiative.

Mahama is in the U.S. capital this week for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, three days of meetings focusing on investment and trade in Africa. The U.S. is vying for influence on the continent, which has some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Ghana plans to invest $37.4 million of its own funds in the power initiative, which Millennium Challenge said will help generate more than $4 billion in the nation’s energy sector.

“We look at it as a game-changer for the country,” Jay Ireland, president of General Electric Co.’s Africa business, said today on a call with reporters.