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United States to fund South African solar power plant

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States’ government development finance institution, said it has approved funding for a $400 million solar farm in South Africa as part of new energy projects in emerging markets.

California-based SolarReserve and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power will collaborate to build and operate the 100 megawatt solar plant in the Northern Cape province, said OPIC in a statement published last Thursday and seen by Reuters on Monday.

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The company said the initiative was part of President Barack Obama’s $7 billion plan to “Power Africa“. Launched in 2013, the plan aims to boost electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The initiative has prioritised expanding the continent’s capacity to generate electricity, with an additional focus on small-scale renewable energy investments.

OPIC also said it had granted South African lender Standard Bank $250 million to fund power generation and infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

OPIC was created in 1969 during the administration of Richard Nixon as a “soft power” tool to extend U.S. influence in the developing world by funnelling private sector money to core infrastructure projects.

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