United States President Barack Obama signed into law a Bill pushing for a US-funded initiative that will bring electricity to about 50 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. Dubbed the Electricity Africa Act of 2015, this assented Bill now a law will give legal authority to Obama’s flagship Power Africa scheme.
An initiative President Obama hopes will improve access to electricity in Africa through public-private relationship. The Bill took almost two years to get approval by both houses of the US Congress.
Stats show that about two-thirds of people living in Africa do not readily have access to reliable power. This scheme wants to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The passing of the law will enable the Power Africa scheme to survive beyond President Obama’s tenure in the White House.
Ed Royce, the Chairman of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee, said the legislation will “improve the lives of millions in sub-Saharan Africa by helping to reduce reliance on charcoal and other toxic fuel sources that produce fumes that kill more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.”
The management consultant firm McKinsey forecasts that it will take $835bn to install electricity across Africa and avail power to all the population by 2030.
The US government is not going into this scheme on its own, other African governments, the private sector and other development partners are also parties that will play a role to make the Power Africa scheme possible.
So far, the US government has committed $7bn to the scheme. That commitment has in turn drawn an additional $43bn being pledged from both the public and private sectors.