Telephonic press briefing on Africa Utility Power Sector Exchange initiative.

April 7, 2017


Africa Regional Media Hub

Press Briefing with Mr. Griff Thompson

Acting US Deputy Assistant Sec of State for Energy Resources

and Dr. Lawrence E. Jones,

Vice President of the Edison Electric Institute

Via Teleconference,

Washington D.C.

Friday April 7, 2017

 

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OPERATOR:  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by.  Welcome to the Energy Partnership Launch call.  At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode.  Later, we will conduct a question and answer session.  And instructions will be given at that time.  If you should require assistance during the call, you may press * followed by 0 and an operator will assist you offline.  Also as a reminder, today’s teleconference is being recorded.  At this time, I’ll turn the conference call over to your host, Mr. Brian Neubert.  Please go ahead, sir.

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon and to those of you on the East Coast, good morning.  To everyone in the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub, I’d like to welcome our participants who have dialed in from across the continent and media gathered at our missions, including in our embassies in Conakry and Addis Ababa.  Today we are joined by Griff Thompson, Acting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources and Dr. Lawrence E. Jones, Vice President of the Edison Electric Institute.

Mr. Thompson and Dr. Jones will discuss the recently held Africa Utility Power Sector Exchange and how this new public-private initiative will advance electric power sector reform and development in underdeveloped markets and help modernize Africa’s electric utilities.

Mr. Thompson and Dr. Jones join us from Washington D.C.  We will begin with remarks from our two speakers and then we will open it up for your questions.  For those of you who are listening to this call in English, you can press *1 on your phone to join the question queue.  If you’re on speaker phone, I may let you know that you have to put down, pick up the headset, handset before pressing *1.  

For those of you listening in French and Portuguese you can submit your questions in English to the e-mail address afmediahub@state.gov.  If you’d like to join the conversation on Twitter, please use the hashtag #EnergyAccessAF.  You can also follow us on @africamediahub and @EnergyAtState.  

Today’s call is on the record and will last about 45 minutes.  With that, I will turn it over to Deputy Assistant Secretary Thompson.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you very much, Brian and thanks to everyone who’s taken precious time from their day to join this call.  First of all, let me start by saying that the State Department is extremely pleased to be partnering with the Edison Electric Institute on this very important initiative.

The mission of the Bureau of Energy Resources here at State Department is to leverage American energy leadership and to promote global political stability and prosperity by working with countries around the world to diversify energy sources and supplies.  We do this by encouraging market-based policies and governance reforms and encourage clean energy adoption.

All of this contributes to economic development and greater security and stability.  In these times of rapid innovation, utilities are facing more transformational opportunities accompanied by more complex challenges.  African and American utilities alike are devising ways to best leverage modern energy technologies from renewable resources and energy efficiency to natural gas production and innovative utility business models.

My bureau in which I work, works with the Bureau of African Affairs here at State Department as the lead agency in Power Africa’s policy work, employing diplomatic engagement, technical assistance and other programs to bolster the investment environment for electricity in Africa.  Power Africa supports any type of generation from renewables to gas-fired power plants and we are therefore very happy that this new initiative with Edison Electric Institute is associated with Power Africa.

Electricity access will only expand sufficiently in Africa with private investment and private investment can only be attractive at the right regulatory environment.  Some of the changes that need to be made to attract investment in the electricity sector are politically difficult but the short-term challenges will be well-balanced by the longer-term gains.

So, this partnership with Edison Electric Institute is a perfect example of government and business working together to address the challenges of the 21st Century and we are very happy with the way the launch was rolled out yesterday and we very much look forward to working with our African CEOs, their utilities and of course with our American counterparts through Edison Electric Institute.  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Dr. Jones, go ahead.

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  Good morning.  My name is -- yes, good morning, my name is Lawrence Jones, VP at EI.  First of all, thank you for organizing this opportunity for us to talk about the African Utility Power Sector Exchange program. We are very honored to be working with the U.S. State Department on this project.

Just briefly, Edison Electric Institute, we’re an association that represents all the investor-owned utilities companies in the U.S. including the District of Columbia.  Our members provide electricity for about 220 million Americans.  And in addition to our U.S. members, we also have an international program with about 60 international utilities, basically operating in about 90 countries around the world.

The programs serve as a platform for knowledge exchange, peer-to-peer networking and industry expert collaboration with the goal of promoting utility performance improvement as well as making sure that the three pillars of our activities which happens to include building a smarter energy infrastructure, ensuring that we’re providing the right customer solutions and constantly working to provide and improve the energy supply system with cleaner energy solutions.

We’re very happy to be working with the State in this project because as we put together the idea of AUSP, the goals here is to work with African CEOs and create an opportunity for dialogue and opportunity to exchange best practices and an opportunity to also see how the best in class processes that are being implemented in the U.S. and around the world can be shared with our African counterparts.

The purpose of the AUSP project is to obviously improve the management practices within our African utility and also to establish an opportunity for a dynamic exchange of information between the CEOs in Africa and the CEOs around the world.  And then lastly, the ultimate goal is to make sure that the African Utility Sector can be as attractive for investors as I mentioned in the initial part of my brief remarks here, EI is an association of investor-owned utilities.  

And so, we believe that the private sector working together with the public sector can ultimately unleash the necessary kinds of investments to improve the long-term feasibility and the long-term viability of the African utilities and making sure that they’re moving in a direction that will overall benefit not just those countries in Africa, but also benefit the partnership that we’re trying to establish here.  So, thank you for having me here.  I look forward to your questions.

MODERATOR:  Thank you both for your opening comments.  We’ll now open it up for questions.  I’ll ask that those of you asking questions, please state your name and affiliation and to limit yourself to one question about today’s topic.

Our first question will go to Eye Radio in South Sudan, Mr. Lasuba Memo.  Go ahead, sir.

QUESTION:  Yes, hello.  I am Lasuba Memo as introduced my name and I’m a senior broadcast journalist at Eye Radio, an independent radio station in South Sudan.  My question goes to Lawrence, Dr. Jones, which is how relevant it will be the new initiative o to fund the electric power sector and formal development in underdeveloped markets apply in countries that do not have -- even have a functioning power sector; in South Sudan, where it does not have a power plant or any other source of public power supply.  What considerations are there for South Sudan?

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  Thank you.  I think in general, the approach of developing the platform is to lay a framework where it’s not a short-term project, it’s a long-term project, spanning three years.  And I think the opportunities for all utilities in Africa to be part of this platform will be one that we gradually will look at the specific needs of the respective countries.

One of the things that’s different with this compact and I will also leave it for Dr. Thompson to comment on, is that the compacts are going to be country-specific.  While we’recreating a generic platform for developing the fundamentals of the platform, when we get to the implementation phase, it will be on a country-by-country basis.

And so once the fundamentals are developed, the goal that will be should there be interest on the part of South Sudan, would be to have a dialogue as to what is necessary.  We know that across Africa, every utility is at a different level of maturity with regards to the utility sector.  So, we’re not designing a compact that will be “one-size-fits-all.”  It will be customizable so that the specific countries that are involved in the platform can obviously participate and do what’s necessary for them.

The last point I will make is that the compact is one where we’re, unlike other initiatives, we are trying to make sure the countries or the utilities have a skin in the game.  And so part of the process here is to make sure that those who want to be involved will be prepared to make necessary resource allocation to make sure that the platform works well.

MODERATOR:  Dr. Thompson, if you have anything to add?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  No, I would thank you very much.  I would simply underscore what Dr. Jones said in terms of the compact being tailorized to the specific country’s needs.  And this is one of the wonderful things about the initiative is that these compacts will be developed out of mutual respect and professional collegiality between the African utility and our counterparts here in the United States.

We have peers talking to peers, experts talking to experts and trying to develop a compact and in fact a strategic plan that will address the exigencies of that country.  And the fascinating thing about energy is that it is a wonderful topic at which to get at everything else on the development and diplomatic agenda.

The provision of energy services is really the precondition for economic and political development and so we see that by strengthening the energy institutions in a country, that by extension will reverberate throughout the economy and strengthen other ancillary and attendant institutions within the country, looking at a strong enabling environment that will be conducive to investment.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you both very much for that.  And now we will turn to our embassy in Addis Ababa for the next question.  Go ahead and please introduce yourself.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  My name is Tesfaye Kebede.  I’m from Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation.  My question is how will this initiative will profit my country here, Ethiopia, because we are building, megaprojects on hydropower electric dams and we’re going to use the geothermal power supply and we’re moving toward that.  How can this initiative will profit Ethiopia and the whole Africa?

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  This is Lawrence Jones.  First of all, we are very honored to have the CEO of EEU, the Ethiopian Electric Utility participating in this initial kickoff roundtable.  And what is going to happen, like Dr. Thompson said is that the objective here behind this exchange is to first of all work collectively between the U.S. and African CEOs to look over the next five, ten years, what does it take to modernize the sector and modernizing the sector is not just about looking at the supply side.  It’s also looking at all of the necessary processes that will be needed to accelerate the overall development.

So, just as an example, the conversations that we’ve had so far with the CEOs from these countries as well as the U.S. and other international CEOs, is laying down the gaps that we see from a management standpoint.  Remember, the focus of the exchange is to really look at it from a strategic standpoint, from an executive level, CEO exchange of what is necessary to really drive change.  And so in the case of Ethiopia, all I would say is that as the compact is being developed, the key areas of interest from the utilities in Ethiopia in terms of the gaps that have to be closed will be addressed and defined and how we then can improve upon it.

Another thing I would say is that the ultimate goal here is not just to have an exchange that is looking at one individual.  The exchange is to make sure that we develop the overall executive managerial skills across the board.  So while a CEO may be attending the event this week for the launch, the long-term goal is to have multiple executives within the utilities in Ethiopia to be part of this exchange.  And that way we have a long-term sustainability of this exchange program.

And so the benefit will come in so many different ways.  But I think it will be up to each respective utility CEOs and countries to identify what areas we would like to focus on.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much for that.   The next question I will pose for the Washington Times.  This is for both of you, Geoff Hill from the Johannesburg Bureau notes that South Africa gets 90 percent of its electricity from coal and the use of coal for electricity is growing in many countries in the region, from Botswana to Nigeria and Kenya.

If Africa is going to use coal anyway, is there a way that your initiative can help to bring clean coal technology from the United States to reduce emissions?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you, Brian.  This is Griff.  I’ll start out with this.  Clearly, this is a country-driven program and so it is the prerogative of the country itself to determine their energy mix and our job through this initiative and other U.S. Government-related programs is to help facility the country in establishing the policy and regulatory structures and institutional scaffolding that is required to accelerate the flow of private capital.

Again, whether it’s coal or natural gas or renewable energy and energy efficiency, our job here and what we see it as to the pathway toward greater economic growth, greater domestic security, regional security, is through a diversified energy portfolio.  Now, this program is not a R&D technology transfer sort of program.  We’ve got other programs in the U.S. government.  Power Africa is working throughout the continent to increase access to energy services.

But, so, what we will do is through a compact eventually perhaps with South Africans, is to look at what are the institutional structures that would be required to facilitate the sort of coal technology that they would like to adopt.   Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you sir.  Another question that has been e-mailed in to us, from, actually a theme from a couple different sources.  One from Alhassan Sillah in Conakry Guinea with the BBC as well as another colleague in Guinea, Youssouf Bah, who is an editor, asking about climate change and how this initiative relates to climate change and also asking will this change under the Trump Administration?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you, Brian.  Thank you for the question.  The United States is currently reviewing international climate change policies, including the Paris Agreement and the U.S. target submitted under the Paris agreement.  

The President’s executive order on promoting energy independence and economic growth addresses certain domestic energy and climate issues.  It does not address U.S. international climate change policies or participation in the Paris Agreement, which remain under review.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you sir.  Another question for both of you that was sent in to us from Mr. Kevin Kelly, the National Media Group based in Kenya.  You mentioned the Power Africa Initiative.  Will the Trump Administration continue this initiative from the previous administration and what are the plans for the program, which we know is related to the initiative you’re discussing today?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you, Brian.   The current Administration is reviewing all our programs and policies to determine which ones will best address the priorities of this new administration.  And while this initiative with Edison Electric Institute is associated with and part of, being branded as a Power African initiative, we’d expect, regardless that this initiative with Edison Electric Institute, certainly will proceed.  

The imperative of increased access to energy services transcends ideology and certainly endures from one administration to another.  So the mechanisms by which we address that imperative, that imperative of accelerating economic growth, job creation, domestic international and regional security; those are enduring themes.  Those are enduring goals of the U.S. government and the current administration is currently contemplating and reviewing what is the best mechanism and the programmatic framework within which we can execute those enduring goals.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Dr. Thompson.  As a reminder to all of our participants to ask a question, please press *1 on your phone and again if you could state your name and affiliation before asking your question.

Another question for both of our guests today, particularly in the context of CEOs, executives from utilities meeting one another, how does the initiative address the crucial questions of governance and corruption that relate to the electricity sector in so many markets?

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  This is Lawrence Jones.  I think, again, like Dr. Thompson said, as we lay out the exchange and work with the utilities, we understand that governance is an issue across the board and governance, part of it is also making sure that the board of directors of organizations are equipped to be able to provide the necessary guidance of the executives within the respective utilities.

So one of the things in terms of lessons learned and shared best-practices is working to develop the framework for how do utility executives work with the board of directors of their companies?  We know that a foundation of governance in many organizations is rooted in having a board of directors that is not just understanding of what’s happening in the sector but also one that has a pretty broad view of the overall energy landscape.

And so, the same types of best practices around the creation of boards and making sure that the boards are constituted in such a way that they will provide the necessary guidance is one thing that we will definitely be looking forward to, including in this compact.

The other thing about the compact is, because it highlights the importance of public-private partnership, which is demonstrated between the EEI collaborating with the State Department, the lessons learned in even how do you forge these kinds of compacts within the utility space is something that we’ll be looking to capture and sharing the best practices with our African counterparts.

The last thing I will say is that in terms of understanding the challenges of having a sector that is running not just in terms of good governance but also one that is being highly efficient and professional in the execution of the genius at the executive level, is basically looking at some of the KPIs that have been put in place in U.S. and other international utilities that will provide the necessary incentives for executives to govern and operate the utilities from a performance-based mechanism approach, as compared to other methods.

So, those are some of the ideas that we’ll be looking at overall, to improve the overall governance structure of the sector.  And learning from what’s been done in the U.S. and other parts of the world and sharing those ideas with our African counterparts, and vice versa.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Dr. Thompson, did you want to add anything or we have, I think, another question coming from our embassy in Addis Ababa.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Let’s just go to the next question, Brian.

MODERATOR:  Okay, if we could turn to our colleagues at the embassy in Ethiopia, please go ahead.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  I am Luelseged Worku from Ethiopian Herald Newspaper.  I have a question.  The first question is that could you tell me the relationship between the initiative in Ethiopia for the last years and the other one is to what extent this initiative is affects us for that is that here in Ethiopia, the electrically powered sector is totally controlled by the government.  So, in what way it would it be practical, the public-private partnership?  This is my other question.  And the last question is that the issue of water.  Water politics is a serious issue in Africa and East Africa.  So, in this regard, what is the power of the initiative?  Thank you very much.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Brian, thank you.  This is Griff.  Let me start to respond to this and then we can refer to Dr. Jones to complete this.

One of the things that we heard yesterday and a thematic thread that ran throughout the discussions that we heard from U.S. CEOs and African CEOs was the sense of pragmatism.  Every CEO realizes and is focusing on making sure we replicate that which works.  And this underscores the previous comment by Dr. Jones.

We’re looking for ways and again, this will be driven by the CEO of the utility in the African country to identify what their specific needs are and we took a big step yesterday with each CEO articulating what their challenges are, what their opportunities are, and the job of the compact and the job of this initiative is respond favorably to those challenges.  And again, it’s a pragmatic approach and every person, from one CEO to another, kept underscoring the need to replicate that which works.

And so that which works will be defined differently from country to country, as Dr. Jones said earlier.  Each country is in a different level, has different challenges.  There are common themes that run from one to another and we can share best practices and exchange lessons learned from one to another from U.S. to Africa.

But one of the things we’ll also see in this initiative is that our CEOs in the United States will learn from the CEOs in Africa.  Everybody has something to learn here.  And I’ll conclude with energy water nexus that the questioner quite rightly mentioned.

This energy bureau and the pillar of energy transformation is looking at the inextricable relationship between energy and water.  We see that manifest in a number of different ways.  Now, the extent to which this initiative will address that will be dependent upon the compact and the nature of the compact as written collegially between EEI executives and the CEO of the utility.  But we certainly acknowledge the important relationship that exists between energy and water.  Thank you.

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  And this is Lawrence, just to building upon what Dr. Thompson said, again, because part of the platform is the exchanges create a peer-to-peer networking opportunity.  We’ve designed it as such that some of the companies from the U.S. as well as Canada and other countries, the UK, who are members of EEI international program who would be involved and some of them were here this week for the launch, is that we have a very diverse set of companies.

So we have companies who will be participating who have a very strong sort of a hydro platform, or hydropower platform in their energy mix.  And so, those companies then will be the right ones for collaboration with the countries in Africa who also have the similar type of generation mix.  And so, we’re designing the compact to make sure we have diversity amongst the utilities from Africa, as well as diversity among the utilities from the U.S. and other parts of the world, so that the network is not just geared towards one type of technology or one type of a system.  Which is one of the reasons why we made sure that the launch utilities participating in this compact come from different parts of Africa and come from different types of geography within Africa.

So, the issues will certainly be addressed.  The last comment I will make here is that, and Griff -- Dr. Thompson talked about the energy water nexus.  I should say that utilities in the U.S. and around the world are already deploying all kinds of technology to incorporate the notion of water energy nexus.  Everything from much more efficient gas turbines and other types of technology to overall manage their water consumption in the context of energy production.  And we’ve seen a lot of efficiency gains there.

So, I think the concerns raised by the questioner will definitely be taken into consideration as the utility CEOs identify areas of common interest and begin to dialogue.  One last thing I will make is the comment that I will make, is that the relationships being fostered between the CEOs are intended to ultimately lead to a utility in Africa, a CEO developing a peer-to-peer relationship, so that both EEI and State can step out of the way and have those utility executives to develop a relationship so that they can call each other independent of us and develop the next, the right relationship to exchange information.   So, I hope that answered the question.

MODERATOR:  Thank you both.  Just as a reminder to all of our participants to ask a question, please press *1 on your phone, state your name and affiliation before asking your question.

We have a few more minutes for questions that come in either by e-mail or on the line.  It looks like we have another question now from Conakry.  Let’s take a question from the United States Embassy in Conakry.  We have media there.  Can we get Guinea on the line?

OPERATOR:  This is the Operator.  The line is open.  Please proceed.  

MODERATOR:  It was going so smooth up until this point but we do run into these kinds of challenges.  I see that a participant at Embassy Conakry is trying to get on the line.  Why don’t we try, in the mean time we have -- go ahead?  

QUESTION:  Yes, my name is Alhassan Sillah and I work here for the BBC World Service.  I want to know whether this new initiative appeals on clean energy technologies.  Now, is it the new U.S. Government’s way of completing a divorce from the climate change treaty as conceived by world leaders in France in 2015?  And I direct this question to Dr. Thompson who has been in lead of the chief U.S. negotiator on technology.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you very much for the question.  As we stated in the outset, this initiative is quite simple in its objectives while dealing with a very complex topic.  The idea of this initiative is to work with CEOs of African utilities to improve the operations and to provide them the capabilities, the policy and regulatory structures and the experiences from U.S. CEOs to provide in a better way, better energy services to their population.  It’s very simple.

And we extol a diversified energy portfolio from the fossil fuels to renewable energy and energy efficiency, it will be incumbent upon the country itself to determine what is the best energy fuel mix for their economy.  Our job is to help them facilitate the policy and regulatory means and the intended investment to achieve that.  Insofar as this administration’s climate change policies goes, as I mentioned before, the U.S. is currently reviewing all our climate policies and our international agreements as manifest in the Paris Agreement.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  I think we have time for one more question.  I think we have Kemi Osukoya with Africa Bazar.  Please go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hello?  Sorry, good morning, can you hear me?

MODERATOR:  Go ahead.

QUESTION:  Yes, my question is in regards to the financing aspect of this initiative.  We know well with Power Africa and a lot of our American company invested, contributed investments to the initiative.  So, can you provide some information on who will be financing this initiative?  And if investors are interested how can they participate?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  You go ahead, Dr. Jones.

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  Yes, so the way the compact has been designed, ultimately here it’s been designed in such a way that every country that participates in the compact will be obviously asked to make a seed investment.  And I say a seed investment because one of the things we see here is that, while the compact will be funded with contributions from foundations and other organizations who strongly believe in the importance of improving Africa utility sector and while we may certainly welcome support from private entities, we want to make sure that the compact is not used as a means of just promoting one form of technology or promoting one agenda.

So, the way we will set up the compact is that the utilities that are participating will make some minimal seed investment in the three-year compact and then through collaboration with our partners, we will then secure the additional necessary funds.  Remember, what is different in this compact is that the goal here is to have it as a three-year program with a range of activities that are aimed to improve the overall performance of the utilities in African countries as well as to create an opportunity for some of the work that will be done in African countries to be used as what I would call reverse innovation.

I’ll give you one very simple example.  Yesterday, a lot of discussion was around the use of micro-grids for rural electrification.  We know that piloting some of these activities and putting them in place will require new, innovative regulatory structures.  And so the learning and sharing of ideas will be such that, as we test and prototype or implement and execute some of these new micro-grid solutions in different countries across sub-Saharan Africa, the lessons learned there could actually be transferred back to the U.S. and other OECD countries.

And so this is going to be an exchange based on a mutual respect, which means that the funding will be such that the African participating utilities will make some seed investment in this initiative, as well as the international utilities.  And so it’s not one of those things where it’s necessarily the U.S. government that’s going to be throwing money at this project.  The commitment we’ve gotten so far from the U.S. has been excellent in kicking this off.  But the ultimate goal here is to have private sector participation and this is -- and I’ll leave this with Dr. Thompson to reiterate, but I think this is directly in the spirit of Power Africa where you’re getting investors in the private sector working hand-in-hand with the public sector to make this compact work.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you, Dr. Jones.  Let me just put a punctuation mark on that because again, as Dr. Jones quite eloquently said, U.S. government money is intended to support the establishment of an investment climate to which the private sector will respond.  I have talked to banker after banker after banker on energy sector finance.  And again, the constant that comes from each one of these members of the financial community is this: establish the right institutions, establish sound policy and regulatory structures and money will find you.

So our job through this initiative, working with Edison Electric Institute through the guidance of the CEOs of the respective utilities, is to provide the proper investment climate with the expectation that once those institutions are in place and strengthened, the private sector will step in.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you both, very much.   I will give you a moment -- those remarks actually wrapped up quite a lot of what we’ve had the opportunity to discuss today.  But Dr. Thompson, Dr. Jones, if you have any final words before we conclude today?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you, Brian.   Let me just close with a couple things based on the questions we have heard.  And I want to make sure that the expectations of this initiative are held in check.

You know, this initiative is not the complete answer to every challenge in the African energy system.  But what it does do is acknowledge the centrality of the power utility in Africa’s energy future.  And it is based on the fundamental axiom that good governance practices catalyze necessary investment.  We are very eager to move onto the next stage of the initiative which is the development of the compacts.  And ultimately move from paragraphs on the compacts to projects on the ground.

Success of this initiative will be defined by how well we move from words to watts.  And we’re very confident that with the good support of Edison Electric Institute, the leadership that we find in Edison Electric Institute members and the real courageous leadership that we’re seeing demonstrated by the CEOs of the utilities that came here yesterday, that we will indeed translate words into watts.  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you both, again.  This concludes today’s call.  I want to thank Griff Thompson, he’s the acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources and his colleague, Dr. Lawrence E. Jones, Vice President of the Edison Electric Institute for joining us.  And I want to thank all of our callers for participating.  

If you have any further questions about today’s call, you can always contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at afmediahub@state.gov.  You heard some very important information today about just the beginning of an initiative and the Africa Media Hub, with our colleagues in the Energy Bureau and colleagues at Edison Electric Institute, will continue to share the information as they make progress.  And thank you again.  

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMPSON:  Thank you, Brian.  Thank you, Dr. Jones.  Thank you everyone.

DR. LAWRENCE JONES:  Thank you.  Bye-bye.

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