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Congress passes bipartisan bill to expand access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa

Electrify Africa Act could have a transformative impact on global fight against extreme poverty 

WASHINGTON – The ONE Campaign today celebrated the House of Representatives’ passage of the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act, a bill that will 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. The legislation passed the Senate in November and heads now to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

Tom Hart, ONE’s U.S. Executive Director, said:

“This is a powerful moment in the fight against extreme poverty.

“This bipartisan bill will leverage partnerships with the private sector to bring first-time electricity access to 50 million people, powering schools, hospitals, factories, farms, and businesses in underserved parts of Africa. The Electrify Africa Act will bring us one significant step closer in our fight to end extreme poverty.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, seven in 10 people do not have access to electricity, forcing many women to give birth in under-equipped hospitals, and putting childhood vaccines that require refrigeration at risk. The lack of electricity also forces families to cook meals over open flames, and students to study beside kerosene lamps, filling their homes with toxic fumes.

“Over the past few months, hundreds of ONE members around the country have delivered a combined 360,000 signed petitions to their leaders in Congress urging them to support this legislation. We have fought tirelessly for this bill over the last two years, and are ecstatic about its passage today.

“ONE congratulates Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Representatives Bass and Smith for winning passage of the Electrify Africa Act in the House, and we look forward to seeing President Obama sign it into law.”

The Electrify Africa Act will prioritize and coordinate U.S. government resources, requiring the Administration to develop a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to increase accessibility, and efficacy of electricity in underserved areas in Africa by 2020.