The $7bn (£4.6bn) five-year initiative is intended to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, in partnership with African countries and the private sector.
“We’re starting with countries that are making progress already with reforms in the energy sector – Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique and Liberia,” he told a business leaders forum in Dar es Salaam.
“And with a focus on cleaner energy, we will initially add 10,000 megawatts of new electricity generation, which expands electricity to 20 million homes and businesses.”
At the same forum on Monday evening, Mr Obama launched a programme helping Africa’s eastern nations of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda trade both with each other and with the US.
“We’ll work with the countries involved to modernise customs, move to single more efficient border crossings, reduce bottlenecks, reduce the roadblocks that stymie the flow of goods to market,” he said.
Mr Obama’s second tour to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming president began in Senegal where he called on African governments to give gay people equal rights by decriminalising homosexual acts.
The US president excluded from his week-long itinerary Kenya, where his father was born, and Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer which has been hit by an Islamist insurgency.