Senator Bob Corker on Thursday praised Senate passage of the Electrify Africa Act of 2015 (S.2152), legislation that will leverage private sector resources through loan guarantees to help 50 million Africans access electricity for the first-time and add 20,000 megawatts of electricity to the grid by 2020. Providing access to electricity will stimulate economic growth while also improving access to education and public health. The bill was coauthored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and Chris Coons (D-De.), and also was cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-Ma.), Jeff Flake (R-Az.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.).
“With limited foreign aid resources, we need to focus on innovative ways to tackle big challenges that can be self-sustaining and have a transformative impact on millions of lives,” said Senator Corker. “Leveraging private investment to bring reliable, affordable electricity to millions of people in Africa for the first time will be a real game changer in development throughout the region. By establishing an-all-of-the-above approach for expanding power generation in Africa through private capital, we can help reduce poverty and fuel economic growth.”
The legislation requires the president to create a comprehensive strategy for United States’ engagement with sub-Saharan Africa in developing a broad mix of power solutions to increase electricity access and reliability. It encourages the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID, the U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, World Bank, and African Development Bank to prioritize loans, grants, and technical support that promote private investment in projects designed to increase electricity access and reliability.