Nearly a third of Africa still without electricity access

Around a third of the African population still lack access to electricity. That’s according to a new ‘Atlas’ report from UN Environment and the African Development Bank, which suggests 53% of […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Around a third of the African population still lack access to electricity.

That’s according to a new ‘Atlas’ report from UN Environment and the African Development Bank, which suggests 53% of people are still reliant on burning biomass for cooking food, heating homes and drying clothes.

It says although the continent is home to a wealth of energy resources, both renewable and non-renewable, its energy consumption is the lowest in the world and per capita usage has barely changed since the turn of the millennium – with 16% of the global population, it consumes only 3.3% of energy.

A growing population, sustained industrialisation and rising urbanisation mean energy demand on the continent is increasing.

The report predicts it will take Africa until 2080 to achieve full access to electricity.

This is despite green resources of almost unlimited solar (10TW), abundant hydro (350GW), wind (110GW) and geothermal energy (15GW).

Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Director and Regional Representative of UN Environment’s Africa Office, said: “The Atlas makes a strong case that investments in green energy infrastructure can bolster Africa’s economic development and bring it closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is therefore an important policy guide for African governments as they strive to catalyse national development by making use of their energy resources.”