With the recent cold snap that has hit the area, I've found myself retreating indoors, flipping on the heat, bundling up and watching TV or surfing the internet. Sure, my power bills are going to go up a bit, but it won't be anything too major that I can't fit into my budget. These luxuries however are unavailable in places stricken by extreme poverty, like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where access to electricity can be rare and a well-paying job even more so.
Nearly 600 million people don't have access to power in the region and 30 African countries face power shortages. These are some of the major constraints to economic growth in the region; however there is currently a bill, the Electrify Africa Act, that will move to help alleviate some of the problem. The bill looks to provide power to 50 million people. Though it sounds like an expensive task, it will cost taxpayers very little. Instead it looks to utilize existing organizations such as the World Bank and will encourages private businesses to invest in the region, benefiting companies in the U.S.
I am hoping that the people of Whatcom County can see what good this will do and that Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Larsen and Delbene will do their best to help pass the legislation.