H.R. 2548, the Electrify Africa Act of 2014

H.R. 2548

Electrify Africa Act of 2014

Sponsor
Rep. Ed Royce

Date
May 7, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 2548, the Electrify Africa Act of 2014, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 2548 was introduced on June 27, 2013 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.  The bill was marked up by the Foreign Affairs Committee on February 27, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.[1]  The bill was discharged by the Financial Services Committee.

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[1] Committee Report 113-433, Park I.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2548 sets forth a comprehensive U.S. policy “to encourage the efforts of countries in sub-Saharan Africa to develop an appropriate mix of power solutions, including renewable energy, for more broadly distributed electricity access in order to support poverty reduction, promote development outcomes, and drive economic growth.”[1]  The bill directs the President to establish a multiyear strategy for achieving these policy goals.  The President must report to Congress on the strategy within 180 days of the bill’s enactment.  H.R. 2548 directs the U.S. to leverage the support of international bodies and describes several ways the U.S. can assist public and private organizations seeking to expand electricity to the region, including USAID, U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  The bill directs OPIC to prioritize investment in electricity in Africa and increases oversight of the agency through the creation of an Inspector General, new demands for transparency, and the creation of a bipartisan Board, while reauthorizing the agency for three years.  H.R. 2548 requires the President to report to Congress within three years of the bill’s enactment on the progress in achieving these policy goals.

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[1] Id. at 7.

Background

Nearly 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, resulting in economic challenges and dangerous health conditions.[1]  Although special trade preferences give African countries liberal access to U.S. markets, many sub-Saharan African nations are unable to meaningfully participate because of the lack of electricity makes the cost of doing business too high.[2]  They are also unable to use electronic goods like computers and cell phones. Due to a lack of electricity, vaccines cannot be properly stored and doctors cannot use certain life-saving technology.  Individuals who lack access to electricity cannot refrigerate food resulting them to farm only for subsistence and their families often use highly flammable sources for cooking and lighting.[3]  More than 3 million people in this region are killed from indoor air pollution annually, greater than AIDS and malaria combined. H.R. 2548 establishes a comprehensive strategy for addressing these issues, which should also benefit U.S. businesses looking to export to Africa’s growing economies

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[1] Id.
[2] Id. at 7-8
[3] Id. at 8

Cost

According to the CBO, implementing H.R. 2548 would save $86 million over the 2014-2019 period.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.