Only 290mn out of 915mn people in Sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity 

In a world where it is generally known that power is the most important infrastructure that will shape the future of any nation, backward Sub- Saharan Africa can only boast of 290 million people, out of 915 million that have access to electricity.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest report said there is little hope as the total number of people without access to electricity is growing.
“Efforts to promote electrification are gaining momentum, but are outpaced by population growth. Although investment in new energy supply is on the rise, two out of every three dollars put into the sub-Saharan energy sector since 2000 have been committed to the development of resources for export”, said IEA.
Sub-Saharan Africa is rich in energy resources, but very poor in energy supply. Making reliable and affordable energy widely available is critical to the development of a region that accounts for 13 per cent of the world’s population, but only 4 percent of its energy demand. Since 2000, sub-Saharan Africa has seen rapid economic growth and energy use has risen by 45 per cent. 
Many governments are now intensifying their efforts to tackle the numerous regulatory and political barriers that are holding back investment in domestic energy supply, but inadequate energy infrastructure risks putting a brake on urgently needed improvements in living standards. The data gathered for this World Energy Outlook Special Report – the first of its kind to provide a comprehensive picture of today’s sub-Saharan energy sector and its future prospects in a global context – underlines the acute scarcity of modern energy services in many countries. 
A severe shortage of essential electricity infrastructure is undermining efforts to achieve more rapid social and economic development. For the minority that has a grid connection today, supply is often unreliable, necessitating widespread and costly private use of back-up generators running on diesel or gasoline. Electricity tariffs are, in many cases, among the highest in the world and, outside South Africa, losses in poorly maintained transmission and distribution networks are double the world average. Reform programmes are starting to improve efficiency and to bring in new capital, including from private investors, and grid-based generation capacity quadruples in our main scenario to 2040, albeit from a very low base of 90 GW today (half of which is in South Africa). Urban areas experience the largest improvement in the coverage and reliability of centralised electricity supply. Elsewhere, mini-grid and off-grid systems provide electricity to 70% of those gaining access in rural areas. Building on successful examples of electrification programmes, such as those in Ghana and Rwanda, the total number without access starts to decline in the 2020s and 950 million people gain access to electricity by 2040 – a major step forward, but not enough. More than half a billion people, mainly in rural areas, remain without electricity in 2040.
Sub-Saharan Africa starts to unlock its vast renewable energy resources, with almost half of the growth in electricity generation to 2040 coming from renewables. Hydropower accounts for one-fifth of today’s power supply, but less than 10 per cent of the estimated technical potential has been utilised. The Democratic Republic of Congo, where only nine per cent of the population has access to electricity, is an example of the co-existence of huge hydropower potential with extreme energy poverty. Political instability, limited access to finance, small market size and weak transmission connections with neighbouring countries have all held back exploitation of hydro resources. These constraints are gradually being lifted, not least because of greater regional co-operation and the emergence of China, alongside the traditional lenders, as a major funder of large infrastructure projects. New hydropower capacity in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Guinea, among others, plays a major role in bringing down the region’s average costs of power supply, reducing the share of oil-fired power. Other renewables, led by solar technologies, make a growing contribution to supply, with a successful auction-based procurement programme in South Africa showing how this can be achieved cost effectively. Geothermal becomes the second-largest source of power supply in East Africa, mainly in Kenya and Ethiopia. Two-thirds of the mini-grid and off-grid systems in rural areas in 2040 are powered by solar photovoltaics, small hydropower or wind. As technology costs come down, the attraction of renewable systems versus diesel generators grows (although they are often used in combination), especially where financing is available to cover the higher upfront expense.

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