Panel clears bill to help electrify Africa

The House Foreign Affairs panel unanimously on Thursday approved legislation requiring the Obama administration to come up with a plan to encourage African countries to provide electricity to its almost 600 million people — 68 percent of the population — who are going without.

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The legislation from Reps. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceState Dept: No answers in sonic attacks in Cuba, China Overnight Defense: Uproar over report Army discharging some immigrants | Latest on Pompeo in Pyongyang | Trump hits NATO ahead of summit Foreign Affairs Dems request North Korea hearing MORE (R-Calif.), Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelTrump’s arms export rules will undermine US security and risk human rights abuses State Dept: No answers in sonic attacks in Cuba, China Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks MORE (D-N.Y.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithWe should allow all taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions AEI: GOP tax law will reduce charitable giving by .2 billion The progressive blue wave is crashing and burning in 2018 MORE (R-N.J.) and Karen BassKaren Ruth BassSunday shows preview: Washington braces for Trump's Supreme Court pick In the shadow of another epidemic, we must protect our children US lawmakers celebrate the royal wedding MORE (D-Calif.) seeks in part to counter growing Chinese influence on the continent. It calls on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide grants and loan guarantees, directs the Treasury Department to work with the World Bank and African Development Bank to increase electrification investments in sub-Saharan Africa and instructs the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to prioritize electrical sector investments in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Electrify Africa Act mandates a clear and comprehensive U.S. policy, so that the private sector can proceed with the certainty it needs to generate electricity in Africa — at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer,” Royce, the chairman of the committee, said in a statement after the vote. 

“We need to be engaged. Where the United States has left a void for economic investment in Africa, China has stepped in to direct nearly $2 billion towards energy projects on the continent. If the United States wishes to tap into this potential consumer base, we must act now.”

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