Staff Writer

Access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa was 46% in 2019 and 570 million people still did not have access to electricity, latest data shows.

Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2021, is a product of the staff of the five collaborating organizations, namely The World Bank, the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization, with external contributions.

According to the report, the share of the global population with access to electricity (SDG 7.1.1) rose consistently from 83% in 2010 to 90% in 2019.

Worth mentioning, electrification efforts brought access to 1.1 billion people worldwide between 2010 and 2019, shrinking the number of those without access from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 759 million in 2019.

The report revealed that the global advance in electricity access since 2010 masks unequal progress across regions. In Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Eastern Asia and South-eastern Asia, the advance in electrification was enough to approach universal access, with more than 98% of the population enjoying access to electricity by 2019.

That same year in Western Asia and Northern Africa, and in Central Asia and Southern Asia, 94 and 95% of the populations, respectively, had access to electricity.

“By contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the world region with the largest access deficit, accounting for three-quarters of the global deficit,” reads the report.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, the access rate was 46% in 2019, and 570 million people still did not have access to electricity. However, between 2017 and 2019, progress in access outstripped population growth, resulting in a drop in the number of unelectrified people in the region.”

Twenty countries with the largest populations lacking access to electricity accounted for 76% (580 million people) of the global access deficit. The report noted that efforts in these countries are particularly important to make significant progress toward universal access.

“The three largest deficit countries—Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia (which replaced India in third place in 2019)—are in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019 these three countries accounted for 90 million, 70 million, and 58 million unserved people.”

Of the 20 countries, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Uganda have made the most progress in electrification, achieving annual growth in access of more than 3 percentage points since 2010, while more than half of the countries expanded electrification by less than 2 percentage points annually. In 9 out of the 20, access kept pace with population growth between 2010 and 2019.

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority recently stated that the country’s access to electricity stands at 40% of the population, with 83% of those with access being in urban areas. This comes as the country has been on a drive for rural electrification, but the pace has been slower than initially planned.

Over 700 million people still lack access to energy, while an estimated 620 million people could still lack access in 2030, 85% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to satellite data compiled by the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) – Harare

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