New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Energy Poverty in Africa: Addressing the Crisis

Energy in Africa

April 22, 2014

Modern energy services are crucial to the well-being of a country’s economic and social development. There are 589 million Africans living without access to modern forms of power.

Energy poverty, the lack of access to modern energy services, has become a crisis in developing countries, and especially many African nations. Globally, 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity, while 2.6 billion lack clean cooking facilities. 95% of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia.

This discussion considered the efforts taking place to enhance access to modern energy services by governments, non-profits and investment groups.

Robert F. Cekuta

Robert F. Cekuta

Erica Ehst

Erica Ehst

Tom Coogan

Tom Coogan

Tom Hart

Tom Hart

Oren E. Whyche-Shaw

Oren E. Whyche-Shaw


Robert F. Cekuta

The Energy Resources Bureau’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. He also has direct oversight over the Bureau’s work on transparency and access to energy. Bob comes to the Bureau having most recently been Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities in the State Department’s Bureau for Energy and Business Affairs.

Recent overseas assignments include Tokyo (2007 – 2009) and Berlin (2003 – 2007) where he led the USG’s engagement on the full range of economic issues with two of the world’s top economies. Bob’s work as Economic Minister Counselor in Germany included counter-terrorism and efforts to combat international criminal activities. He was also Senior Advisor for Food Security in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and Senior Deputy Coordinating Director at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan for all development and economic affairs. Having been assigned overseas in Albania, Austria, Iraq, South Africa, and Yemen, Bob has also worked in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1999 – 2000). He has held positions in Washington at the State Department responsible for energy, trade, and economic development, including Director for Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy, Special Negotiator for Biotechnology, and Director of the Iraq Economic Task Force.

Bob is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds Masters Degrees from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and the National War College.
 


Tom Coogan

Tom Coogan is the Regional Program Director at the US African Development Foundation. He is responsible for the country programs in Nigeria, Zambia, Cape Verde, Botswana and South Sudan. He is also the lead person at USADF for Power Africa which includes the Off Grid Energy Challenge, a public private partnership supporting scalable, commercial models for the generation and delivery of off-grid energy solutions to underserved communities.

Tom’s career includes extensive public, private sector and not for profit experience. Before becoming Regional Program Director he served as Chief Financial Officer at USADF. He served as head of Finance and Administration at Ten Thousand Villages, the largest fair trade retailer in the US. Previous to that he worked at Rite Aid Corporation as Vice President of Finance, Treasurer and Senior VP of Planning. Tom also served as a small business advisor in the Peace Corp in the Gambia, West Africa.

He has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. Tom and his wife Belinda reside in Alexandria, Virginia.
 


Erica Ehst

Ms. Erica Koszalka Ehst is a Senior Investment Officer on the Renewable Energy team at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution. Ms. Ehst is responsible for counseling U.S. firms pursuing investments in emerging market countries, evaluating their financing proposals, and developing and structuring project opportunities across multiple industries. Prior to joining OPIC, Ms. Ehst worked at Marriott International evaluating development finance opportunities and hotel opportunities. Prior to Marriott, Ms. Ehst was a Vice President at Allied Capital Corporation and was responsible for structuring and negotiating mezzanine finance and private equity transactions across an array of industries. Prior to Allied,

Ms. Ehst worked at Duke Capital Partners providing mezzanine debt to energy companies and at Banc of America Securities on the Energy and Power mergers and acquisition team. Ms. Ehst graduated with honors with a M.B.A from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and a certificate in International Diplomacy from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. Ms. Ehst graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Emory University.  


Tom Hart

Tom Hart is the US Executive Director of ONE, and is responsible for ONE’s advocacy, communications and campaign activities in the United States.

Previously, Tom was the Senior Director of Government Relations at ONE. In this role, Tom devised and executed ONE’s government relations strategy for the US and Canada. Tom and his team led the way on unprecedented increases in development assistance by the United States, including historic increases in funding for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB through PEPFAR and the Global Fund, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and more.

Before joining ONE, Tom was the Director of Government Relations for the Episcopal Church, USA, and an aide to Senators Alan Cranston and Jay Rockefeller.
 


Oren E. Whyche-Shaw

Oren E. Whyche-Shaw is the Principal Advisor to the Assistant Administrator in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Africa, which provided $8.1 billion in assistance to 42 African countries in 2012. In this capacity, she serves as Africa bureau’s Trade Coordinator, and as the Coordinator for the Partnership for Growth (PFG), a presidential initiative that aims to accelerate and sustain broad-based economic growth by putting into practice the principles of President Obama’s September 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development.

Prior to joining USAID in 2011, Ms. Whyche-Shaw served as the Director for the Office of African Nations and Senior Advisor in the Multilateral Development Bank Office of the U.S. Department of Treasury. She also held positions in the areas of financial markets, private sector investment and trade development with the African Development Bank. In the private sector, Ms. Whyche-Shaw led Technoserve, Inc.'s agricultural and entrepreneurial development projects as Vice President for Africa. She also served as a banker with Citibank, N.A. and J.P. Morgan, and as Chair of Plan International USA and Manager of Global Acoustic Businesses at Owens-Corning.

Ms. Whyche-Shaw received a Master of Business Administration in Finance, International Business, and Money and Financial Markets from Columbia University School of Business and a B.S. in Theoretical Mathematics and French from Capital University in Columbus, OH. She was the first Citibank Fellow at Columbia University, and was selected as a White House Fellow in 1983, which she fulfilled as the Senior Special Advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Whyche-Shaw has lived and worked in both North and Sub-Saharan Africa and has worked in over 60 countries overseas.

NYU Footer