In the debates over how best to bring electricity to the billion-plus poor people who live every day without it, a common refrain is that we can replicate the telecommunications leapfrog with energy too.
CGD Policy Blogs
Energy poverty is back on the global agenda and Africa is the front line. The International Energy Agency (IEA) just released their annual World Energy Outlook with a special report on the African energy sector.
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.
Yesterday, the Government of Ghana signed its second compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
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).
We cheer for the African teams, so we’re a little conflicted with the USA-Ghana grudge match in the World Cup tonight. We harbor no illusions about USA’s chances to win the tournament. But at least we’ll have the electricity to watch it.
The White House and the House of Representatives have weighed in on how the United States can help bring electricity to millions of Africans and also reposition US engagement with the continent. Supportive legislation is now up to the Senate, and specifically the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez (D-NJ).