A new law enacted by President Barack Obama states that the United States would partner and consult with governments of sub-Saharan countries as well as international financial institutions, the private sector and co-operatives, to promote first time access to power and power services for 50m people by 2020.
The Electrify Africa Act also calls for an analysis of existing mechanisms to promote commercialisation of electric service through distribution service providers, including from co-operatives to consumers.
The new law was welcomed by the National Rural Electric Co-operative Association (NRECA), which represents more than 900 rural electric co-operatives across the USA.
“We are celebrating this achievement with all our members, because our domestic and international work has always focused on power distribution, and making it possible for people to have direct access to electricity,” said NRECA Interim chief executive, Jeffrey Connor.
“This new law makes it possible to have a significant impact on the lives of millions, and we are proud to be part of this worthwhile effort to bring power to Sub-Saharan Africa. We applaud and thank the bipartisan leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member Sen. Ben Cardin (D-M.D.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who all believe that promoting economic development by expanding access to electricity will benefit people on both sides of the Atlantic,” he added.
NRECA International is currently working on electrification projects in Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda.