Obama: Africa Needs Energy

A few local businesses in Tanzania describe how they would benefit from President Barack Obama's efforts to strengthen sub-Saharan Africa's access to electricity.

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President Barack Obama speaks about Africa's energy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on July 2, 2013. (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

It's a resource that can easily be taken for granted because of its ubiquity, but the minute the lights go out, the necessity of electricity becomes instantly apparent to all.

It's a realization that Africans know all too well, according to a report in the New York Times, which sheds light on a few local businesses in Tanzania that would benefit from President Barack Obama's efforts to strengthen sub-Saharan Africa's access to electricity.

President Barack Obama spoke about Africa's access to power and energy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Tuesday.

Mr. Obama has begun a new push to bring power to the two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africans who have no access to electricity, one of the cornerstones of his policy for the continent. That would mean light for schoolchildren to do their homework after sunset and refrigerators to keep food from spoiling. It would also mean more jobs and more development.

“Electricity is the heart of my business and of the development of Tanzania in general,” said Dotto Said, 50, the supervisor at Yasir Ahmed, which sits along the four-lane Nelson Mandela Road in the neighborhood of Mwenge, a stretch of storefronts selling paint, water tanks and office supplies.

Phil Hay, the World Bank’s spokesman for Africa, said that for the continent “to keep growing at this extraordinary rate it depends on more electricity,” adding, “That’s good for small traders, shopkeepers, businesses, for lighting roadways, for traffic lights.

Read more at the New York Times

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