United States Congress (Washington, DC)

Africa: House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Electrify Africa Act

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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.

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