In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 620 million people do not have access to electricity. Thirty seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa have a national electrification rate of below 50 percent. These endemic power shortages affect all aspects of life. Energy access is one of the most urgent priorities for people in sub-Saharan Africa with one in five Africans citing infrastructure – including electricity – as their most pressing concern.
The lack of electricity impacts people’s lives, with a disproportionately negative impact on girls and women.
 
The legislation will leverage private sector resources through loan guarantees to help 50 million Africans access electricity for the first-time and add 20,000 megawatts of electricity to the grid by 2020. Providing access to electricity will stimulate economic growth while also improving access to education and public health.
 
The bill requires the president to create a comprehensive strategy for United States’ engagement with sub-Saharan Africa in developing a broad mix of power solutions to increase electricity access and reliability. It encourages the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID, the U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, World Bank, and African Development Bank to prioritize loans, grants, and technical support that promote private investment in projects designed to increase electricity access and reliability.