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US Development Policy

CGD experts track US development policy and offer ideas and analysis to improve its impact on developing countries. Also check out our Views from the Center blog and Global Health Policy blog.

Rethinking US Development Policy Blog

 

Congress Passes the Electrify Africa Act…Finally

Last night the House of Representatives passed the Electrify Africa Act.  They followed the Senate, which passed the same bill by unanimous consent last December.  Yes, amazingly enough, Congress has finally spoken:  Combatting African energy poverty is the official policy of the land, or at least will be once President Obama holds a signing ceremony in the next 14 days. 

Half an Electrify Africa Bill: Better than None!

Power Africa has the potential to be a game changer for US foreign assistance and for how the United States works with Sub-Saharan Africa. Congressional authorization is needed to solidify Power Africa beyond President Obama's tenure. That’s why we were thrilled to see Electrify Africa pass the House last year (297-117) with bipartisan support and see nearly identical texts introduced this year in both the House andSenate (S. 1933 and H.R. 2847). Yet it was a disappointment to see that the bill dropped the key language related to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as introduced earlier this year. 

Sputters or Sparks from Power Africa?

A New York Times piece alleging a “sputtering” Power Africa in advance of President Obama’s trip to Kenya and Ethiopia took us by surprise. To those of us who have been avidly following Power Africa and the continent’s long march toward universal electrification, it’s far too early to draw such negative conclusions on the initiative’s success—much less its future impact. Instead, the early signs are actually quite positive. 

Is Africa Energy Poverty the Next Big Bipartisan Development Issue?

Bipartisanship has a pulse in Washington after all. Or, maybe it’s just Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) reminding the town that certain issues trump the desire to deliver mortal body blows. What unites this conservative from San Bernardino and a progressive from the Bronx? The belief that sustained US leadership can help bring economic and social opportunity to millions of Africans that lack any access to electricity.

Seven Graphics that Explain Energy Poverty and How the US Can Do Much More

Energy poverty is an endemic and crippling problem; nearly 600 million people in Africa live without access to any power, which also means no access to safer and healthier electric cooking and heating, powered health centers and refrigerated medicines, light to study at night, or electricity to run a business.  Here’s the situation in the 6 countries chosen to be part of President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, home to nearly 1/3 of the continent’s population. 

What’s Happening with Power Africa and the Electrify Africa Act?

In June 2013, President Obama announced a major new development initiative, which aims to double access to electricity in Sub Saharan Africa. The first phase of the Power Africa Initiative focuses on adding more than 10,000 megawatts of “cleaner, more efficient generation capacity” in six partner countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania).  This should increase electricity access for at least 20 million households and commercial entities through on-grid, mini-grid, and off-grid solutions.  The US government will commit up to $7 billion over five years to this effort, while helping to mobilize more than $9 billion in private investment.  My colleague Todd Moss and I have warmly welcomed this new initiative while also flagging a few things to watch for and think about (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples).

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