This article originally appeared on One.org
WASHINGTON (July 24, 2013) – Nearly 50 global leaders and organizations have come together to add their voices to The ONE Campaign’s ‘Open Statement on Electricity in Africa.’ The statement of principles calls for a large scale increase in energy access in Africa in order to “energize progress in all areas of human development and self-sufficiency on the continent.”
The African signers include President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, more than a dozen African ambassadors to the U.S., and other senior government officials, journalists and community leaders from the continent.
American supporters of the ‘Open Statement on Electricity in Africa’ include former U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Richard Lugar, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and General James Jones, USMC (ret.).
Also, more than a dozen NGOs and their leaders have endorsed the statement, including: Africare; CARE USA President and CEO Helene Gayle ; Engineers Without Borders USA; Save the Children USA President and CEO Carolyn Miles ; World Vision; The UN High-Level Group for Sustainable Energy for All; The UN Foundation; The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; The Center for Global Development; and others. See the full list of signatories here.
The statement notes that more than 550 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. It says:
“Without a reliable power supply, women give birth in under-equipped hospitals, children’s vaccines requiring refrigeration are at risk, students are unable to study after dark and routine business transactions become extremely difficult…
The good news is sustainable solutions to address Africa’s energy poverty can deliver immediate progress as Africa has yet to harness the majority of its energy potential from renewables and natural gas. Countries are increasingly taking the lead with bold plans to develop these resources for their national benefit. We support the more than two dozen African nations that have committed to the goal of providing universal energy access by 2030, so that people living in rural and urban areas are lifted out of poverty and can benefit from strong economic growth.
We encourage catalytic support from the U.S. government and private sector in order to achieve this large scale increase in energy access. Collectively, this partnership can help provide millions of people access to modern energy which, in turn, will energize progress in all areas of human development and self-sufficiency on the continent.”