U.S. Energy Investors Set to Visit Tanzania

Johnny Carson assistant secretary of state

Executives from some leading US energy companies are scheduled to arrive in Tanzania on Wednesday to explore opportunities in power-generation and fuel-supply projects, a State Department official said on Saturday.

The public-private energy trade mission is led by Johnnie Carson, the US assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, and is co-sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa, a grouping of American businesses with interests in Africa.

The delegation will discuss “specific challenges to the attraction of private investment for energy infrastructure projects,” according to a State Department briefing paper.

A series of talks with Tanzanian government officials is planned for the two-day visit, which is part of a larger trip that begins in Mozambique on February 6 and includes stops in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.

“Implementation of large projects is crucial to meeting the two goals of addressing huge African generation capacity needs and providing the lowest per unit cost of electricity possible,” the State Department briefing adds.

“The historical impediments to such private sector involvement include uncertain legal and regulatory regimes, inconsistent support of cost reflective electricity pricing, and insufficient availability of long-term, limited recourse financing from private financial institutions.”

Currently, one of the US-based companies, Symbion, has been contracted by Tanesco to produce power as part of an emergency plan to address electricity shortage in the country.