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US to invest in developing renewable energy in Africa

The US House of Representatives has passed the Electrify Africa Act to help develop renewable electricity supply in the sub-Saharan Africa.

The bill, which passed on Monday and will now be sent to President Obama to be signed, sets a framework for a public-private partnership between the US and sub-Saharan governments to “develop an appropriate mix of power solutions”, including renewable energy.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce told Voice of America that the Act intends to address the large-scale electricity shortage in the region, affecting millions of lives.

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

Republican Royce has been working on the legislation with Eliot Engel, Democrat, since 2014 to get the legislation approved in both the House and the Senate.

The Act instructs President Obama to establish a comprehensive multiyear strategy to encourage the efforts of countries in sub-Saharan Africa to implement national power strategies and develop an appropriate mix of power solutions.

It also includes a clause requiring the President to encourage the growth of distributed renewable energy markets in sub-Saharan Africa, including off-grid lighting and power.

The Act is supported by 35 African countries.