Democrats and Republicans Agree to Electrify Africa

It’s not every day in Washington, DC that an issue finds major support on every side of the aisle. But providing US support to Africa’s efforts to electrify is an issue everyone can (and should) support.

Last week the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Electrify Africa Act – which strengthens Obama’s Power Africa Initiative from last summer. With 60 cosponsors and 27 states supporting the measure, it’s fair to say this is a rare bipartisan policy. The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to review their own bill in the next few weeks- we’ll be interested to see how the support for their counterpart legislation shakes out!

The Electrify Africa Act proposes to double President Obama’s initial goal with an additional 20,000 Mw of renewable and non-renewable power. It also includes non-binding language giving political nods to USAID and the US Trade and Development Agency- giving them fodder for future congressional budget justifications, (which we all know is key to actually implementing policies and legislations). But beyond the political support the Act also:

1) Requires a US Government-wide framework for implementation of the initiative within 180 days.

2) Demands OPIC prioritizes and expedites African power investments, reauthorizes OPIC through 2017, requires OPIC publicly disclose the results from all of its investments and creates a bipartisan board, and an Inspector General position to provide better management and oversight of the agency. and,

3) Accountability, Accountability Accountability. The Electrify Africa Act requires the executive branch to report on progress and costs within three years.

Stay tuned to see how this legislation progresses we sure will be!

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