NRECA's Martin Lowery explains why co-ops are key to Electrify Africa Act on Voice of America

Yesterday on Voice of America, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Martin Lowery spoke with the Africa 54 program on the importance of the Electrify Africa Act and the role cooperatives can play.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 600 million people are estimated to be without electricity, or about 85% percent of the population. The Electrify Africa Act aims to connect rural areas to the grid, ultimately improving health and education, especially for girls who can do their homework late at night with a light.

“Access to electricity is a fundamental right…. collaborative approaches are the only way we will achieve it,” Lowery said on the program.

As with other cooperatives, rural electric cooperatives are owned by consumers. “The local people provide themselves the service of electricity, they own the system and they maintain the system,” Lowery said. Stemming from how the rural United States got power through the 1930s, electric cooperatives are seen as key to linking rural Africa to power as well.

Watch Lowery's full interview here (6 min).

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