African countries will now have more access to electricity under an initiative dubbed “the Power Africa Scheme.”
The law which was signed by the President of the United State, Barack Obama is set to bring electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
Obama made this initiative during his tour of Africa last year. The U.S. also pledged a financial commitment of $7billion to support the scheme, which was drawn from $43billion in investment pledged from other public and private partners.
According to the scheme, the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, will give legal backing to Obama’s flagship Power Africa scheme, which is trying to improve access to electricity through public-private partnerships.
However, it took nearly two years for the initiative to be passed in both houses of the U.S. Congress. The new legislation is likely to ensure that the scheme continues even after Obama leaves the White House in 2017. The scheme has set itself the long-term target of doubling electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.
About two-thirds of people in Africa do not have access to reliable power. Many of them are forced to rely on generators for their electricity supply.
“The legislation would improve the lives of millions in sub-Saharan Africa by helping to reduce reliance on charcoal and other toxic fuel sources that produce fumes that kill more than HIV/Aids and malaria combined.
“It would also promote the development of affordable and reliable energy,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Mr. Ed Royce, a long-time supporter of the initiative in a statement.
Also, management consultant firm, McKinsey, estimates that it will cost $835billion (£575billion) to connect the entire continent’s population to electricity by 2030.