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On Monday, US Congress representatives passed the Electrify Africa Act, which seeks to accelerate electricity access to people in sub-Saharan Africa living off-grid

According to the Voice of Africa, in order for the Electrify Africa Act to be applied, it only needs President Barack Obama’s signature, adding that it took two years to convince the Congress representatives to approve the bill.

The bill’s objective

[quote]The Electrify Africa Act will serve as a framework for a major public-private partnership between the US and sub-Saharan African countries in speeding up access to reliable electricity for Africans.

Voice of Africa reported that Ed Royce, who is the chairman of house foreign affairs committee in California, explained the objective of the bill as seeking to address the electricity deficit affecting the everyday lives of millions of Africans.

Royce said: “It is a direct response to the fact that today 600 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa…70% of the population do not have access to reliable electricity.”

A collaboration effort

The media reported that Royce, a Republican member, has been working with other politicians from different parties, including Eliot Engel a Democratic member from New York. The individuals are reported to have been campaigning for the bill through House and Senate dating back to 2014.

The Electrify Africa Act will guide Obama, who is in support of the partnership, to establish a multi-year strategy to assist countries in sub-Saharan Africa in implementing national power strategies with a mix of energy solutions, with the inclusion of renewable energy resources.

Arguing his case during the debate in the State House, Royce highlighted that the lack of electricity push some families in sub-Saharan Africa to use charcoal and other toxic fuels, which he added cause more deaths than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

Likewise, members from both major political parties stated that without access to reliable electricity, millions of Africans are unable to experience modern life with its technology, pointing out the use of lights, cellphones, computers, refrigeration of foods and medicines as other examples.

In addition, Royce stressed the high cost of energy in sub-Saharan Africa, as the hindrance for producing goods for export. He then said that it is in the interest of the US to assist Africa become one of the world’s great trading partners.