One year later: Spotlight on the Electrify Africa Act

One year later: Spotlight on the Electrify Africa Act


Join the fight against extreme poverty

On February 8, 2016, President Obama signed the Electrify Africa Act (S. 2152) into law. But the story of this truly special piece of legislation starts a few years before that — when ONE decided to campaign for a bill to be introduced in the U.S. Congress that could help private and public partners invest in Africa’s energy future.

A Maasai man holds up a newly obtained solar lamp which can be used to keep predators away from the herds, in the village of Koora, Kenya, on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. (Photo credit: Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Why? Our goal was to help sub-Saharan African countries modernize their power infrastructure and increase their access to electricity — saving lives, strengthening education, alleviating extreme poverty, and accelerating growth and development in the process.

To start, ONE’s Policy team wrote reports, and our Government Affairs team drafted legislation and talked with key members of Congress on both sides of the aisle on how to get this act passed. Then, for four years, hundreds of thousands of ONE members signed petitions, wrote letters, sent tweets, and made calls in an effort to ask Congress to pass the bill.

ONE member Jennifer Jones Wood and her children with Representative Mark Sanford.

And it worked! The Electrify Africa Act passed with bipartisan support, which is no small feat. And now Power Africa is continuing the hard work of implementing power projects across Africa with the aim of meeting Electrify’s goal of providing millions of people with modern energy access. You can track the progress in a few ways, via the Power Africa website and the Power Africa app.

When Electrify Africa was signed into law, Michael Elliott — our late CEO — had this to say: “This is what happens when a good idea meets smart people. Whether it is writing policy, or pushing Congress for action, or the many other ways in which we can all make a difference, ONE’s work on energy shows activism at its best. Our work doesn’t always work out that way, but when it does we should both cheer and give thanks.”

Today, let’s give thanks once more for this amazing effort on the part of Congress and our incredibly devoted ONE members!

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