Today, Congressmember Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the "Electrify Africa Act of 2014":
"Today, the House of Representatives showed that we can rise above partisanship and improve the lives of millions of people, especially children, whose lives will be changed by what we did today. Even though we are well into the 21st century, two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lives without electricity, including more than 85 percent of Africans living in rural areas. Not having electricity means children study by candle light and doctors and midwives who are delivering babies must rely on flashlights. A life without electricity means education, healthcare, and the basic needs of millions of Africans suffer.
"I am proud to serve as an original co-sponsor of this legislation, and I commend the Democratic and Republican leadership of both the Foreign Affairs Committee and this House who came together to provide real and lasting assistance for hundreds of millions of people. Working together, we have crafted legislation that is a long-term strategy that will focus not only on building more power plants, but also on increasing African government accountability and transparency, improving regulatory environments, and increasing access to electricity in rural and poor communities through small, renewable energy projects that will result in at least 50 million Africans having access to electricity for the first time in their lives by 2020.
"All of us can trace our ancestry back to Africa. Our action today means helping the economy both here in the United States and in Africa while improving the lives of millions of people for generations to follow."
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass represents the 37th Congressional District, which includes Los Angeles, Century City, and Culver City and was the 67th Speaker of the California Assembly. Rep. Bass serves as the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.