BY PRECIOUS ADI US
lawmakers on Thursday have devised a plan to bring electricity to 50 million Africans, in what Washington hopes will be its next major initiative for the continent.
During a visit to Africa in June last year, President Barack Obama announced a US drive to improve power for the two thirds of Africans who lack a reliable supply.
The bill, approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sets a goal of installing 20 000 megawatts of power in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 and reaching at least 50 million people who do not have electricity.
The funding would come from the private sector, using government-backed credit guarantees.
Representative Ed Royce, who chairs the panel, hailed the Electrify Africa Act as a way for the United States to contribute to the continent’s development, as lack of power impedes everything from education to health care.
Royce, a Republican who worked on the bill with members of Obama’s Democratic Party, said that the plan would also help American companies tap into a growing consumer market and show US engagement in the face of China’s rising presence in Africa.