External Publications
2018.14
Date: 11/9/2018

Electrification in sub-Saharan Africa: the role of international institutions


Authors:

Anna Aevarsdottir (Institute for International Economic Studies); Nicholas Barton (Goethe University); Tessa Bold (Goethe University); Anteneh G. Dagnachew (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency);  Emma Gordon (East Africa risk analyst); Laurence Harris (School of Finance and Management, SOAS, University of London, and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies); Andries F. Hof (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development - Utrecht University); Maryse Labriet (Eneris Environment Energy Consultants, EOI Business School); Ken Lee (Energy Policy Institute - University of Chicago); Paul L. Lucas (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency);  Neil McCulloch(development economist); Edward Miguel (Oxfam Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics - University of California); Giuseppe Montesano (Enel Foundation); Tade Oyewunmi (Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law - University of Eastern Finland, Tulane University Law School); Carlo Papa (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga (Comillas Universal Energy Access Lab, Tata Center for Technology and Design - Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Lapo Pistelli (Eni); Rahmatallah Poudineh (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies); Roxanne Rahnama (Comillas Universal Energy Access Lab and Tata Center for Technology and Design - Massachusetts Institute of Technology); David Robinson (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies); Gregor Schwerhoff (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change); Esméralda Sindou (Sustainable Energy Team - GOPA International Energy Consultants intec); Simone Tagliapietra (Bruegel, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Detlef P. van Vuuren (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development - Utrecht University); John Ward (Vivid Economics); Catherine Wolfram (Energy for Economic Growth Research Program - University of California); Bassam Fattouh (Oxford Energy Forum, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies)

Type: Journal
Published in: Oxford Energy Forum, Issue 115, pages 49-52

Abstract

Africa’s access to electricity varies by region: North Africa is almost entirely (99 per cent) electrified; in sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa (SSA), electrification rates in most countries. are below 30 per cent; and South Africa is predominantly (86 per cent) electrified. Lack of access to electricity in SSA is even more dramatic in rural areas, where electrification rates average 16 per cent, compared to 99 per cent in North African countries and 71 per cent in South Africa. Since 2014 the number of people without access to power in SSA has declined, as electrification efforts have surpassed population growth. Decentralized renewable-energy solutions play an increasing role in this trend. However, around 590 million people in SSA continue to lack access to power, more than half of the world’s total. Lack of access is not the only component of SSA’s electrification challenge. Even among people who do have access to electricity, there are wide disparities in annual per capita consumption between the three regions: 225 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in SSA – and as little as 100 kW in rural areas – compared to 1,500 kWh in North Africa and 4,200 kWh in South Africa. Thus, two-thirds of SSA’s population does not have access to power, while the remaining one-third cannot consume as much as it would like, due to regular blackouts and brownouts resulting from structural problems in the electrical system. Making power available to all by 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is therefore a major challenge for Africa, notably for financial reasons. The International Energy Agency estimates that cumulative investments between 2017 and 2030 under current policies and commitments are less than one-fifth of the amount needed to achieve universal electricity access in SSA, which it estimates at $454 billion, an average of $35 billion per year.

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Electrification in sub-Saharan Africa: the role of international institutions

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