U.S. Trade and Development Agency

1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1600 * Arlington, Virginia 22209

Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT:  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                         (703) 875-4357




Grant is the First of Three Awards to Address Electricity Needs in Southern Africa


WASHINGTON, D.C. — (August 23, 2005) Making strides in meeting the growing demand for electricity in Southern Africa as part of the economic development goals of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is the goal of a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant awarded today to Botswana’s Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR).  The $368,270 grant will fund financial advisory services for the MMEWR on the development of the Mmamabula Coal-Fired Power Plant in Botswana. 


USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey and Assistant Minister Duncan Mlazie of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning of Botswana signed a grant agreement at U.S. offices in Arlington, Virginia to officially confer the award.  USTDA Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa Ned Cabot and Deputy Permanent Secretary Freddie Mothatlhedi of the MMEWR of Botswana signed as witnesses to the grant agreement.  The Honorable Mbiganyi Tibone, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources of Botswana, was present at the grant signing. 


During the signing ceremony, Director Askey noted the importance of new energy development in the Southern African region and the U.S. commercial interest in finding economically viable means to meet the growing demand for electricity.  She also welcomed the Minister as the leader of the seven-member delegation visiting the United States at the invitation of USTDA to explore the U.S. coal bed methane industry.


Today’s grant is designed to help Botswana consider the development of new energy generation sources in preparation for the projected spike in regional demand for power over the next few years.  Specifically, the technical assistance will allow the MMEWR to explore different ways of financing the greenfield Mmamabula coal-fired power plant, which will be located next to the Mmamabula Colliery in the Mahalapye region of Botswana.  The successful implementation of this power plant is expected to assist Botswana in becoming a net energy exporter to the Southern African Power Pool.  The grant will also help to establish the infrastructure necessary to support the economic development goals of AGOA, which provides beneficiary countries in sub-Saharan Africa with preferential access to the U.S. market.   


The grant is the first of three totaling more than $1.25 million that USTDA expects to award in the near future to assist countries in meeting the region’s growing demand for energy.  The other grants will be used to develop a formalized electricity market model to facilitate private sector investment in Namibia’s energy market, and to lay the groundwork for a concession on the development of two hydropower plants on the Lurio River in Mozambique.


The opportunity to provide the financial advisory assistance to the MMEWR will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities website at  Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals directly to the MMEWR for consideration, following the instructions in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement.  The MMEWR will select the U.S. contractor that will provide the assistance.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.