“Now is not the time to turn inward or to retreat from Africa.”
On Friday, November 14, 2014, Walker Williams, Leadership Africa USA’s President and CEO testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on “The Future of Energy in Africa.” In his testimony, he stressed to members of the committee the need for U.S. government and private sector follow up to the U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial in Ethiopia and the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, and the important role of partnerships, working with small-and medium-size enterprises, and regional strategies to improve Africa’s access to energy.
Mr. Williams provided testimony from the perspective of civil society, stating that we need “all hands on deck” to provide electricity for the 600 million people on the continent who are without electricity. Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith stated that “the great irony is that Africa has more than enough energy capacity to join the rest of the world in utilizing modern technologies that require energy supplies… Yet currently, only 290 million out of 914 million Africans have access to electricity.”
Other energy experts testifying included Robert F. Ichord, from the Bureau of Energy Resources at the U.S. Department of State, shared that the State is “looking at innovative technological solutions that can bring greater prosperity supported to date.” Eric Postel, the Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Africa at the United States Agency for International Development, stated that “tapping into plentiful, sustainable resources and introducing new energy technologies will advance efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, and promote economic development and job creation, which in turn can improve quality of life.” Jonathan Elkind, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Office of International Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy commented that “African nations are positioned to become increasingly important producers and consumers in the global energy sector.” Dianne Sutherland, owner and publisher of Petroleum Africa Magazine, emphasized that “there are literally hundreds of small-scale projects established and in the works… these translate into billions of dollars in investment. The sector is making progress with new, renewable-specific legislation emerging in many countries, facilitating development of the industry.”
The hearing was aired on CSPAN2, and below is a link to the Foreign Affairs Committee website where you can watch the hearing in full.
To watch the hearing on CSPAN2, check the daily listings below.