570 million people have no access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa

Image of student reading with lantern (file photo)
  • 570 million people still live in sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity
  • Kenya among countries that made the most progress since 2010 on access to electricity in the world.
  • The new report, “Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report” says the world is falling short of meeting the global energy targets set in the UN SDGs for 2030.

Out of 840 million without access to electricity globally, 570 million live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a recent report by the World Bank.

The report titled; “Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report,” produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The report reveals that despite significant progress in recent years, the world is falling short of meeting the global energy targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030.

Ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 remains possible but will require more sustained efforts, particularly to reach some of the world’s poorest populations and to improve energy sustainability.

“Notable progress has been made on energy access in recent years, with the number of people living without electricity dropping to roughly 840 million from 1 billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2010,” the report states.

Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, said, “We need to do more to put the world on track to meet all SDG7 targets. I am particularly concerned by the dramatic lack of access to reliable, modern and sustainable energy in certain parts of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, a region where we need to really concentrate our efforts. The IEA will continue to cooperate with countries and organisations to make sure that successful solutions are efficiently deployed so that the sustainable energy revolution leaves no one behind.”

The progress we have seen over the last few years is encouraging- the number of people without access to electricity has dropped to 840 million- but we still have a great deal of work to do as much of this population lives in the poorest countries and most remote locations. Over the last five years, the World Bank has committed $5 billion to access programs, whether it is on- or off-grid, and we will continue to scale up,” said Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director for Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.

The report also lists Kenya, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar among countries that made the most progress since 2010 and urged nations to step up actions in electrification.

The international agencies urged policymakers to use off-grid solutions, including solar lighting, solar home systems, and increasingly mini-grids to connect the poorest and hardest to reach households.

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