Electricity: 90% of Africans will live in darkness by 2030

In Africa, the fastest urbanising continent in the world today, our data show that more people will migrate from rural to city centers, over the next 10 years in their quest for a better living. However, many African countries which have high urbanization growth rates such as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia still experience challenges with electricity access and distribution.

It is estimated that of the almost 1.3 billion people living on the African continent, about 49% have no access to direct power supply in their homes. Compared to other continents across the globe, Africa’s electricity access rate is the lowest, causing experts to believe that this, and several other factors will impede development over the coming years if policy and infrastructural measures are not made top priority.

Developmental indicators such as a reduced cost of engaging in business activities, job creation, advanced health care, and educational facilities, all depend - in some part – on access to electricity. Plus, a low electricity access rate ultimately limits the implementation of advanced technology in sub-sectors such as education and agriculture.

Although the percentage of people worldwide, living without electricity has dropped by over 30% in recent times, it is predicted that by 2030, there will be over 650 million individuals living without electricity, and 90% of such people, will be living in Africa. In Africa, there are over 100 million people who live in close proximity to the electrical grid, but do not have access to electricity due to the cost of connectivity. Our experts at VIZON are positive this problem can be solved by taking steps towards improving the output of the renewable energy sector.

Africa has vast renewable energy potential, but only a fragment of it is utilized. A few countries are on the right path towards greener options for energy generation. At the forefront is Kenya, which has undergone reforms in its economy, and has increased social development and growth.

Most recently, the biggest wind power plant in Africa was commissioned, by the Kenyan government. The Lake Turkana Wind Power farm, in Kenya’s Rift Valley, has a capacity of 310MW, with 365 turbines, allowing the production of low-cost, reliable energy. The Kenyan government is focused on meeting the set goal of 100% green energy use by 2020 as a means to plug more of its communities on the energy grid. In 2014, Kenya removed the value added tax (VAT) introduced a year earlier on solar energy products to boost accessibility to power for its citizens.

Countries such as Malawi, which rely heavily on hydro-power generation, but are constantly constrained by drought and low water levels, have also begun to explore high potential solutions available in solar and wind energy generation.

Access to electricity is critical for development, and is a key driver of inclusive growth for people of all genders and ages, living in urban and regional areas. A shift from underutilization and overdependence on one source of electricity, will do Africa a lot of good.

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