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H.R. 2548 (113th): Electrify Africa Act of 2014

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

5/8/2014--Passed House amended. Electrify Africa Act of 2014 - (Sec. 5) Directs the President to establish a multiyear policy, partnership, and funding strategy to assist countries in sub-Saharan Africa develop an appropriate mix of power solutions to provide sufficient electricity access to people living in rural and urban areas in order to alleviate poverty and drive economic growth.

(Sec. 6) Expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should: (1) prioritize where loan guarantees to African financial institutions would facilitate involvement in African power projects, and where partnerships and grants would increase access to electricity; and (2) consider providing grants to develop national, regional, and local energy and electricity policy plans, and expand electricity access to the poorest.

(Sec. 7) Urges the President to direct the U.S. representatives to appropriate international bodies to use U.S. influence to advocate that each such body: (1) increase efforts to promote investment in power sector and electrification projects in sub-Saharan Africa that increase energy access, (2) address energy needs of individuals and communities where access to an electricity grid is impractical or cost-prohibitive, (3) enhance private sector coordination in sub-Saharan Africa to increase access to electricity, (4) provide technical assistance to the regulatory authorities of sub-Saharan African governments to remove unnecessary investment barriers, and (5) utilize clear and metric-based targets to measure such projects' effectiveness.

(Sec. 8) Urges the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to: (1) place a priority on supporting investment in the electricity sector of sub-Saharan Africa; (2) support investments in projects that will maximize the number of people with new access to electricity, improve electricity generation and distribution, provide reliable and low-cost electricity to rural and urban communities, and reduce energy-related impediments to business and investment; (3) encourage locally-owned, micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises and cooperative service providers to participate in investment activities in sub-Saharan Africa; and (4) publish in an accessible digital format development impacts of its investments.

Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to require OPIC's Board of Directors to: (1) increase the loan, guarantee, and insurance programs, and financial commitments in sub-Saharan Africa, including through the use of an investment advisory council to assist the Board in developing and implementing policies, programs, and financial instruments with respect to sub-Saharan Africa; and (2) appoint an OPIC Inspector General.

Terminates the investment advisory council on December 31, 2017.

(Sec. 9) Urges the Director of the Trade and Development Agency to: (1) promote private sector participation in energy sector projects in sub-Saharan Africa, including through feasibility studies and pilot projects; and (2) seek opportunities to fund projects that increase access to electricity.

(Sec. 10) Directs the President to report to Congress detailing progress towards achieving the policy goals set forth in this Act.