The Chairman, Heirs Holdings, a propriety investment company, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has called on the United States Congress to pass the Electrify Africa Bill, saying its passage into law will make a world of difference in Africa.
“When you leave this place, call your Representatives and the leadership of the House and ask them to pass the bill,” Elumelu told the US lawmakers attending the Power Africa Summit in Washington DC on Thursday.
The Act is expected to preserve and expand President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative by codifying access to electricity as a US foreign policy priority for Africa.
The bill has been passed by the US Senate and is also expected to be voted on by the US House of Representatives this week.
A statement by Heirs Holdings quoted Elumelu as commending President Barack Obama for working through the Power Africa Initiative to mobilise the private sector to invest $43bn in the African power sector.
According to him, Africa needs to win the energy challenge if it seeks to become an industrial power in the 21st century, noting that “power outages on the continent must spark power outrages; the kind of outrage that ignites the activist in us”
Heirs Holdings has committed $2.5bn to deliver 2,000 megawatts of electricity under the Power Africa Initiative through Transcorp Power Limited.
Transcorp Power, which is currently generating about 19 per cent of electricity in Nigeria, plans to increase its capacity to 25 per cent in the near future.
“Power cuts across and has impact on healthcare delivery, job creation, education, food security, communications and all other sectors of the economy. It is unacceptable that 600 million Africans lack access to energy in the 21st century,” the statement further quoted Elumelu to have said.
Elumelu’s remarks in Washington DC follows a letter he and the President of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote, had jointly written to the US Congress.
The letter was written under the auspices of the African Energy Leaders Group, a body the duo co-founded with other African leaders in January 2015.
The letter had similarly urged members of the US House of Representatives to pass the Electrify Africa Bill to scale up US efforts to help provide Africans with access to electricity.
The statement noted that Elumelu had also on Thursday testified before the US International Trade Commission on ‘The Future of the US-Africa Trade and Investment Relationship.’
Chaired by Ambassador Michael Froman, a US Trade Representative, the hearing is part of efforts by the US government to put building blocks in place for the next phase in its economic relationship with Africa.