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.
CGD Policy Blogs
Yesterday the UK government formally launched its much-awaited Energy Africa campaign, which aims to accelerate electricity access for rural Africans. In a surprise move, DfID’s new plans include only support for small-scale solar power solutions. Typically these systems provide just enough power for a LED light bulb or two and a cellphone charger (see here and here for a few DfID favorites).
Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) dropped its long awaited Electrify Africa Act of 2015. It's good news for US development, foreign, and commercial policy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Whereas the last Congress was unable to get similar legislation over the finish line, we are hoping that this one will get the job done. There are three key reasons for why this is so important.
Last week, Nigerian President Buhari and President Obama spoke at length in the Oval Office. Much of the discussion focused on defeating Boko Haram and rooting out corruption in Nigeria. Yet, President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, which aims to help provide access to 60 million households and businesses across Africa, was also high on the agenda.
Why should global development policy be important to the next US President? This is what we’re asking in today’s CGD Podcast. And what should the next administration do to make sure the US retains and reinforces its influence with developing nations?
What does the 2016 election mean for America’s future position in the world? It’s likely too early to tell at this stage of the campaign cycle. Many of the early Republican contenders — such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — have been relatively quiet on foreign policy issues or have focused almost exclusively on Iran, Israel, and Russia. That’s to be expected at this point. Yet, other candidates — like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham — are already outlining a more comprehensive vision for advancing American interests.
Last week, President Obama’s Global Development Council (GDC) released a second report calling for bold, as well as incremental, reforms to “make US development efforts more catalytic and innovative.” This is a high-powered group of outside thinkers and doers, and their recommendations are excellent.
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.