In Ghana, an exemplar of African democracy and development, electricity is quickly becoming a front-burner political issue. Thousands took to the streets of the capital Accra on Wednesday chanting ‘enough is enough!’ about electricity blackouts.
2015 is almost here. And while it looks as though we will be adding rather than crossing off items from our 2014 wish list for US development policy, we’re electing to remain optimistic about the year ahead. And check out Nancy Birdsall’s request for help updating her 2014 wish list here.
The results are in, and they are a doozy. The Senate flipping to Republican control turns attention to whether the new Congress will send common sense legislation for President Obama’s signature. Domestic policy issues like Obamacare or tax reform clearly will dominate Congress’ agenda, yet development and foreign policy champions will be assuming (or retaining) key leadership positions. Many have been thinking long and hard about ways to push America’s agenda abroad. Now’s their chance.
Electricity supply often drives how African citizens view their elected officials’ performance. Along with a handful of other issues, it also can influence the outcome of voting behavior. Therefore, it’s no surprise that African leaders have increasingly prioritized improvements in generation capacity and the reliability and affordability of service provision. The challenge often comes in the mismatch between citizens’ perceptions of performance and the timeframe required to influence them.