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Congress Passes Corker’s Bipartisan Bill To Expand Access To Electricity Across Sub-Saharan Africa – The Chattanoogan

The ONE Campaign on Tuesday congratulated Senator Bob Corker and celebrated the House of Representatives’ passage of the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act on Monday evening. The bill will help sub-Saharan African countries modernize their power infrastructure and increase their access to electricity — saving lives, strengthening education, alleviating extreme poverty, and accelerating growth and development. The legislation passed the Senate in November and heads now to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

Senator Corker introduced the bill with Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) in August.

Elaine Van Cleave of Nashville, a member of The ONE Campaign, said, “This bipartisan bill is a great example of how we can be smarter about how we invest our foreign assistance dollars. The lack of electricity in so much of sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most dangerous and persistent enemies in the fight against extreme poverty. Senator Corker is a great leader on these issues and deserves our congratulations for passing this legislation.”

Laney Carter of Chattanooga, a member of The ONE Campaign, said, “We take for granted that our homes, our schools, and our hospitals here in Tennessee have access to the electricity they need to operate, but energy poverty is a destructive force on the African continent. By helping Africans build and expand their electricity infrastructure, the United States can make huge strides in the fight against extreme poverty. I’m proud that Senator Corker has taken a leadership role on this issue, and congratulate him on passing this bill.”

Tom Hart, ONE’s U.S. executive director, said, “This is a powerful moment in the fight against extreme poverty.

“This bipartisan bill will leverage partnerships with the private sector to bring first-time electricity access to 50 million people, powering schools, hospitals, factories, farms, and businesses in underserved parts of Africa. The Electrify Africa Act will bring us one significant step closer in our fight to end extreme poverty.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, seven in 10 people do not have access to electricity, forcing many women to give birth in under-equipped hospitals, and putting childhood vaccines that require refrigeration at risk. The lack of electricity also forces families to cook meals over open flames, and students to study beside kerosene lamps, filling their homes with toxic fumes.

“Over the past few months, hundreds of ONE members in Tennessee and around the country have delivered a combined 360,000 signed petitions to their leaders in Congress urging them to support this legislation. We have fought tirelessly for this bill over the last two years, and are ecstatic about its passage today.

“ONE congratulates Senator Corker for getting the Electrify Africa Act through Congress, and we look forward to seeing President Obama sign it into law.”

The Electrify Africa Act will prioritize and coordinate U.S. government resources, requiring the Administration to develop a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to increase accessibility, and efficacy of electricity in underserved areas in Africa by 2020.

ONE is a policy and advocacy organization of more than seven million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, ONE raises public awareness and presses political leaders to combat AIDS and other preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.

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