AF Regional Media Hub Briefing with Earl Gast, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa

Photo of Earl Gast
Earl Gast, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, will discuss progress and opportunities for investors under President Obama’s Power Africa initiative


Please join us on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 3:30 pm South African time for a telephonic press conference with Earl Gast, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, who will discuss progress and opportunities for investors under President Obama’s Power Africa initiative in light of the Power-Gen Africa Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, 17-19 March.


Earl Gast, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa

Thursday, March 13, 2014

3:30 pm South African time (GMT +2)


Ground rules:

Dial-in Info:
To be provided once you RSVP

Social Media Hashtags:
#PowerAfrica and #Energy4All

RSVP: Please RSVP to

Background Two out of three sub-Sarahan Africans — 600 million people — lack access to electricity, forcing them to spend significant amounts of their income on costly and unhealthy forms of energy, like diesel to run factory generators and smoky and scarce wood for indoor fires for cooking. President Obama announced the US Power Africa initiative on June 30, 2013 in South Africa. The initiative aims to bridge the gap between Africa’s power shortage and its economic potential by doubling access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa over the next decade. The United States and its partners will work with the initial set of Power Africa partner countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria to reach the goal of increasing access to 20 million people and generating 10,000 MW of power by 2018. The initiative is designed to mobilize the vast amounts of capital needed for universal access, without which Africans cannot advance and grow their economies. Power Africa is a totally new and unique model for development cooperation and high impact public -private partnerships. The initiative offers the expertise of 12 US government agencies in removing obstacles to energy sector transactions with financing, legal, engineering and other assistance which will propel necessary and specific reforms to bring energy infrastructure projects to a financial close. Power Africa is working on sustainable energy solutions that range from 1 MW to 1,000 MW, that are on grid and off-grid or mini-grid for populations the grid does not reach. The portfolio includes a variety of clean or renewable energy sources, namely, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass, as well as gas. The teleconference speaker leads USAID programs for Africa and has been involved in the development of the initiative since its inception. Bio: (see below) Earl Gast, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa


  • We will ask that callers dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early.
  • When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location.
  • When an embassy dials in, the operator will NOT ask the embassy coordinator for the names of every journalist at the participating embassy, but only the embassy’s name and location.
  • The speaker will give brief opening remarks.
  • The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to push the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press star-one at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion of the call. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question only for each time they press “*” and “1”. Participants may press “*” and “1” more than once should they wish to ask more than one question. If anyone has pressed “*”and “1” and is not being called upon by the moderator, you may email in order to alert the moderator to this problem.
  • The moderator will then announce the location of each questioner. The questioner should state his/her name and affiliation before asking the question.
  • Near the end of the allotted time, the moderator will announce the last question. At the end of the final answer, the operator will announce the conclusion of the conference call.



Earl Gast was sworn in as the Assistant Administrator for Africa in April 2012. In this capacity, he oversees a large and varied portfolio that provided $6.4 billion in assistance to 49 African countries in 2011. He has a 21-year history working at USAID and leading meaningful development programming, especially in post-conflict and transitioning societies.

Prior to this appointment, Gast served as USAID’s mission director in Afghanistan, overseeing the Agency’s largest overseas program, which was providing $4 billion in assistance to increase stability through agriculture, economic development, education and governance. After returning from Afghanistan, Gast served as acting mission director for Colombia. From 2005 to 2008, Gast was the regional mission director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, and from 2008 to 2010 he was USAID’s senior deputy assistant administrator for Africa. He served as the USAID representative to the U.N. agencies in Rome in 2004.

Gast began his career with USAID in 1990 as a project development officer for USAID/Philippines. He has received numerous awards and commendations for his dedicated service. Most prominently, he received the Agency’s Award for Heroism in 2004 and, in 2003, the Distinguished Unit Award for his work in Iraq. Gast also received the C. Herbert Rees Award in 1999.

Gast received a master’s degree in political science and Middle East studies in 1987 from George Washington University. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in history and criminal law. He speaks Russian and Arabic in addition to his native English.