Africa among continents with faster electrification growth rates as more people have access globally – EIA

The number of people with access to electricity around the world has increased, according to a briefing paper by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EUA indicates that the rate of electrification grew the fastest from 1994 to 2014 in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia.

“Investments to increase electricity access have significant implications for economic development and quality of life as well as the energy consumption and energy-related emissions for each country,” it adds.

Ciitng the most recent data from the World Bank which says 15 per cent of the world’s population – approximately 1.1 billion people lack access to electricity in 2014, the EIA says access to electricity has however, been generally increasing over the past 20 years.

It points out that in 1994, approximately 25 per cent of the world’s population lacked access to electricity. Part of the increased share of access to electricity is attributable to the faster rate of population growth in urban areas; the share of the world’s population living in urban areas grew from 44 per cent in 1994 to 53 per cent in 2014.

“Urban areas tend to be more electrified, but most of the world’s population without access to electricity live in rural areas. In 2014, 27 per cent of the world’s rural population did not have electricity access compared with 4 per cent of urban populations,” it adds.

According to available information, some 645 million of Africa’s 1.2 billion population do not have access to electricity and the cost for the continent as a result is a huge human cost. As the lack of electricity and for that matter access to clean energy sources for cooking, compelling most people to use other available sources of fuels for cooking is leading to the deaths of some 600,000 people every year from household air pollution and most of them are women and children.

In Ghana, some 17,000 people die every year from air pollution from household fuel.

There are however, efforts to provide electricity on the continent. Among the efforts are that of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The AfDB has an ambitious plan to expand electricity in Africa. “Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. Our goal is clear: universal access to energy for Africa within ten years. Expand grid power by 160 Gigawatts. Connect 130 million persons to grid power. Connect 75 million persons to off grid systems. And provide access to 150 million households to clean cooking energy,” it’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said in 2016.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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