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.
CGD Policy Blogs
Update: This blog was updated on 10/16/2014 from the original version.
What is the best way to promote access to reliable and affordable electricity for the estimated 600 million Africans that currently live without it?
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.
Last week, a high-powered group of investors, foundations, and academics called for the establishment of a US Development Finance Bank – which would combine existing programs at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID, the US Trade and Development Agency, and the Treasury Department.
We have been anxiously waiting for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) to introduce legislation that promotes electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yesterday, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Corker (R-TN), the respective SFRC Chairman and Ranking Member, introduced the Energize Africa Act (S. 2508).
Within the last two weeks, top American and Chinese officials completed major trips to Sub-Saharan Africa. In classic Chinese style, Premier Li signed a laundry list of commercial deals and bilateral agreements across four countries.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Electrify Africa Act later tonight. This legislation would increase the US government’s efforts to promote reliable and affordable electricity for the roughly 600 million Africans that currently live without it. It aims to mobilize all US development tools, ranging from technical assistance grants to risk insurance to long-term debt financing for private investors.