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Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on the Electrify Africa Act of 2014

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the Electrify Africa Act of 2014, which requires federal agencies to support the development of electrical grid in Sub-Saharan Africa, where fewer than one-third of people have access to electricity. The lack of electricity has prevented the development of the region’s manufacturing sector, and requires families to complete basic tasks manually, without the assistance of machines that require electricity.

The bill, intended to increase capacity to 20,000 megawatts of electricity in the region by 2020, recommends that the U.S. Agency for International Development offer loans and grants for the development of electrical facilities, directs the Treasury Department to encourage the World Bank, African Development Bank and other institutions to increase electrification investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, and extends the authority of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to provide loans and insurance that American companies that invest in the region.

“The nations of Sub-Saharan Africa have many resources available to support the development of their economies – such as an abundance of natural resources and a young population. But the development of manufacturing cannot as a practical matter occur unless the people have access to electricity,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “The electrification program implemented in the United States in the New Deal allowed millions of American to escape from poverty, as regions that had depended on subsistence farming were industrialized, in only a few years. I believe the region of Sub-Saharan Africa has the potential for this type of development.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.