Support the new bill to bring energy to Africa – and cut extreme poverty, too

Lack of steady electricity is keeping Africa in the dark – both literally and figuratively. Illustration by Malaka Gharib. 

We cannot eradicate extreme poverty without increasing modern energy access. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing stories about modern energy’s role in helping to lift people out of poverty – and it’s time for the US to take action.  

In this day and age, it’s possible to listen to class lectures on YouTube, video chat someone across the world in an instant, and use a mobile app to find the nearest pizza delivery service.

Meanwhile, there are millions of people in the developing world who spend hours each day collecting firewood to cook their daily meals. Students are often forced do their homework by candlelight. Job opportunities and business growth are severely limited. Women give birth in under-equipped hospitals, and basic medical services are compromised.

Why? Because of a lack of reliable electricity.

We need to put an end to this insanity and help lift the more than 550 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who live without access to electricity out of poverty and into the future. We cannot eradicate extreme poverty without increasing modern energy access, a crucial part of igniting Africa’s economic growth.

We’re going to start by asking for the US government to pass a new bill – the Electrify Africa Act of 2013 – that will provide 50 million Africans with access to electricity for the first time.

Sign the petition now.

Why the US? Because we know energy. We have the resources, the know-how, and the skills. We also have world’s leading companies in new energy technologies, and can form public-private partnerships with them to help generate electricity for African countries and citizens while enhancing cooperation between US and African energy companies.

This bill – which comes at no new costs to the US taxpayer – will save lives, empower women, boost education, accelerate growth in job opportunities and fight extreme poverty for the long term. The US government just needs to step up and seize the opportunity. 

And that’s where you come in.

By signing our new petition, you can add your voice to those calling for the US government to support a new bill that will bring long-term poverty alleviation through energy access. Our petition reads:

Dear Congress:

Please help “Electrify Africa” by supporting the bill that will provide 50 million people with access to electricity for the first time. This bill will transform people’s lives – and keep us on track to end extreme poverty by 2030.

The bill that we refer to in this petition, which was introduced to the House yesterday, ensures that the energy we create is done in responsible way and addresses Africa’s energy needs to lift themselves out of poverty. You can read the entire bill (and see all the specifics) here.

For millions of people, the lack of electricity access is severely hampering their health care, education, economic opportunities, and has disproportionate impacts on women. Extreme poverty will not be eliminated without expanded affordable access to proper lighting and reliable safe power – and this bill, which has no cost to US taxpayers, will support African efforts to provide this for their citizens.

We need your support to make sure the US government takes this opportunity – and in doing so, make sure we stay on track to eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.

Click here to add your voice now.