D.C.-based agency invests $38 million to increase energy access in sub-Saharan Africa

The Washington D.C.-based U.S. Agency for International Development recently announced more than $38 million in investments that are being designated to help end poverty through increasing access to food and energy in developing countries throughout the world.

The Agency announced the commitment last month during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in California's Silicon Valley.

“USAID is committed to engaging entrepreneurs, innovators, and other private sector partners in developing countries around the world to advance development outcomes,” according to the announcement. “Over the past seven years, USAID has directly supported hundreds of entrepreneurs and has partnered with other donors, international organizations and local governments to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems.”

In 2015, the Agency leveraged more than $5.9 billion in investments for such causes through its more than 360 public-private partnerships.

Those new investments will help fund a series of programs, including one called “Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development." That program is an investment of $36 million that is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and investors to bolster a market in sub-Saharan Africa that will connect a market of 20-million households that currently have no access to an electricity grid -- making affordable off-grid solutions and driving new technological innovation to serve these undeserved community. The program is in partnership with the U.K. Development for International Development and the Shell Foundation, according to the release.

Agency Administrator Gayle E. Smith attributed much of the organization's success in funding and operating these programs to the Obama administration, which she said has been very supportive of its efforts in the developing world.

"President Obama's leadership in convening Global Entrepreneurship Summits over the past seven years has elevated the importance of entrepreneurship to building more economically prosperous, secure, and globally connected communities around the world," Smith said in the release. "Today's announcement builds on the Obama Administration's commitment to harnessing the power of entrepreneurs to advance development goals and spread American values around the globe."