16 February 2016, Abuja — Nigeria and other African countries will have more access to electricity, as President of the United State, U.S., Barack Obama, signed into law an initiative under the Power Africa Scheme, to bring electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
The President made this initiative during his tour of Africa last year.
The U.S. also pledged a financial commitment of $7billion to support the scheme, which was drawn from $43billion in investment pledged from other public and private partners.
According to the scheme, the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, will give legal backing to Obama’s flagship Power Africa scheme, which is trying to improve access to electricity through public-private partnerships.
However, it took nearly two years for the initiative to be passed in both houses of the U.S. Congress.
The new legislation is likely to ensure that the scheme continues even after Obama leaves the White House in 2017. The scheme has set itself the long-term target of doubling electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.
About two-thirds of people in Africa do not have access to reliable power. Many Nigerians are forced to rely on generators for their electricity supply.
In a statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Mr. Ed Royce, a long-time supporter of the initiative, said: “The legislation would improve the lives of millions in sub-Saharan Africa by helping to reduce reliance on charcoal and other toxic fuel sources that produce fumes that kill more than HIV/Aids and malaria combined.
“It would also promote the development of affordable and reliable energy.”
Also, management consultant firm, McKinsey, estimates that it will cost $835billion (£575billion) to connect the entire continent’s population to electricity by 2030.
Also, African governments, development partners, and the private sector are all involved in the Power Africa scheme so as to ensure a profitable way out of the continuous menace of power outage in Africa.