(ARLINGTON, VA.) – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jo Ann Emerson today thanked U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for introducing the Energize Africa Act, legislation promoting electrification in sub-Saharan Africa. The House passed companion legislation, H.R. 2548, on May 6, 2014.
“Rural electric cooperatives understand the potential for electrification to change lives and transform economies as well as anyone,” said Emerson. “Seventy-five years after rural electrification in this country, some co-op members still recall the day the lights came on. This bill promotes the interests of half a billion people living without access to reliable power. It also promotes the interests of U.S. citizens who could reap the benefit of an $86-million reduction in foreign aid to that region over the 2014-2019 period.”
The Energize Africa Act prioritizes and coordinates U.S. government resources to achieve three goals in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020:
- Promote first-time access to electricity for at least 50 million peoplein Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
- Encourage the installation of at least an additional 20,000 megawatts of electrical power using a broad mix of energy options to help reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and drive economic growth.
- Encourage the necessary in-country reforms to make such expansion of power access possible.
NRECA supports the legislation and stands ready to partner with public and private organizations to achieve these goals. International development experts also support this legislation, understanding how electrification acts as a multiplier and will ensure sustainable and successful U.S. foreign aid investments in sub-Saharan Africa.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.