27 February 2014

Africa: House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Electrify Africa Act

Photo: U.S. State Department
Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle with Kano youth NGO leaders.


Washington, DC — Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), passed H.R. 2548, the Electrify Africa Act, as amended, which will improve access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, through a comprehensive U.S. government approach to electricity projects in the region, at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.

[A summary of today's Committee action, including adopted amendments, is available HERE.]

Last year, Chairman Royce, joined by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee's Ranking Member, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, introduced the Electrify Africa Act (H.R. 2548). The bipartisan legislation would establish a U.S. strategy to support affordable, reliable electricity in sub-Saharan Africa in order to improve economic growth, health and education in Africa, while helping job creation in the United States through greater exports.

Chairman Royce on the legislation's passage: "Today's important legislation offers a market-based, strategic framework to bring affordable and reliable energy to many of the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who currently have none. With nearly one billion consumers, the African continent has great economic potential.

"The Electrify Africa Act mandates a clear and comprehensive U.S. policy, so that the private sector can proceed with the certainty it needs to generate electricity in Africa – at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. We need to be engaged. Where the United States has left a void for economic investment in Africa, China has stepped in to direct nearly $2 billion towards energy projects on the continent. If the United States wishes to tap into this potential consumer base, we must act now."

H.R. 2548, as amended:

  • requires that the Administration create a comprehensive strategy to help increase electricity in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • encourages the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to use existing tools such as loan guarantees, partnerships and grants to increase electricity in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • directs the Treasury Department to persuade the World Bank and African Development Bank to increase electrification investments in sub-Saharan Africa; and
  • instructs the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to prioritize electrical sector investments in sub-Saharan Africa.

Information about H.R. 2548, including the introduced bill text, the amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, and a section-by-section summary are available HERE.

Copyright © 2014 United States Congress. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.