There are approximately 1.2 billion people without access to electricity in the world; out of those, 53% live in Africa(World Energy Outlook, 2015, IEA).
Looking at the numbers closely, countries in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) have done a great job of ensuring access to electricity for all with a 99% electrification rate.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 68% of people live without electricity according to the IEA data gathered in 2013. Countries that have experienced, and continue to experience, civil unrest are understandably doing a lot worse in terms of electrification; in South Sudan only 1% of the population have access to electricity, 3% in the CAR, 4% in Chad and 5% in Sierra Leone and Burundi.
The countries that occupy the top ranks in the electrification table in SSA are islands; Mauritius(100%), Réunion(99%), Seychelles(97%) and Cabo Verde(94%).
Interestingly, of the 6 countries classified by the World Bank(2015) as upper middle income countries in SSA (Gabon, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Mauritius), Angola has the lowest electrification rate at 30%(IEA) while Gabon has the highest(89%).
For lower middle income countries, the electrification rates vary widely with Ghana having the highest at 72% and Lesotho the lowest at 17%.
When compared to the data below from countries classified as low income countries, it is interesting to see that Gross National Income per capita (GNI), which is the metric the World Bank uses to classify the countries, doesn’t seem to have a direct correlation with the electrification rate. For example, Zimbabwe has an electrification rate double that of Kenya while it’s GNI is 53% more than Zimbabwe’s.
It is not all gloom and doom however as the access to energy has attracted great interest all over the world with many countries focusing on universal energy access. African countries are currently focused on electrification in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is a part of.
A list of funds accessible to people, institutions, and corporations looking to provide solutions and ‘electrify Africa’ can be found on our post here.
See the updated numbers in our post here.