More importantly, Obama’s initiative allows for critical and new opportunities for the populations in sub-Saharan Africa who need the electricity the most. Obama’s investment in Africa and creation of an energy infrastructure is vital because of the necessity of electricity for economic and social progress. As Gerson explains, “Economists estimate a 2 to 5 percent yearly drag on economic output. It is difficult to be productive in the dark....It is also difficult for children to do their homework at night, or for clinics to store vaccines or blood without reliable refrigeration, or for municipalities to run the pumps necessary for clean water and sanitation....Energy poverty is not merely economic; it is expressed in deforestation, respiratory illness, and maternal and child mortality.”
The results of the president’s plan will have a positive ripple effect that will yield immediate dividends and long-term improvements in the quality of life for sub-Saharan Africans. We can only hope that the money is effectively invested in order to bring light to a population continuously pushed into the shadows.
image is from www.undp.org