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Obama unveils initiative to help Africans gain access to electricity

Updated: 2013-07-01 09:39
( Xinhua)

CAPE TOWN - The visiting U. S. President Barack Obama on Sunday unveiled an initiative to double access to electric power across Africa.

Speaking at the University of Cape Town, Obama said the 7 billion U. S. dollars initiative will focus on expanding access to electricity in six African countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

An additional 9 billion dollars will come from private companies like General Electric and Symbion Power.

However, those contributions fall well short of the 300 billion dollars the International Energy Agency says would be required to achieve universal electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

Obama pledged to continue U. S. investment in health programs, particularly an HIV/AIDS program known as the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.

He also called on African countries to join efforts to end war and conflicts in the continent so as to pave way for democracy and economic development.

Earlier Sunday, Obama visited Robben Island where Mandela was jailed for 18 years.

In his keynote speech, Obama urged young South Africans to fulfill Mandela's vision of equality and opportunity.

As Obama was speaking, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the campus, shouting anti-American slogans.

Obama will leave South Africa on Monday, ending the three-day official visit, the second leg of his African tour. He has visited Senegal and will go to Tanzania.

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