A shortage of electricity is one of Africa’s greatest development challenges. Much of the continent experiences regular blackouts and brownouts, and emergency power sources cost too much for many homes and businesses.
600 million people, 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa are without electricity
United States has a generation capacity of 3,360 megawatts per million people
Sub-Saharan Africa has a generation capacity of 91 megawatts per million people
Lack of access/unreliable power force businesses to use diesel generators.
Diesel Generators pollute 65x more than clean renewables
Increasing access and reliability of electricity will:
Introduce better learning conditions and enhance education by allowing students to study after dark
Improve communication through telephones, TV, radio and computers.
Increase safety such as outdoor lighting so families can feel safer in their communities.
Improve health care conditions by providing drinking water pumps and lighting for rural health centers
Foster productivity, since electricity also allows for irrigation, crop processing, food preservation and other income producing activities to enhance economic growth
Sources: International Energy Agency, World Bank. Photo Credits: Sections 1 and 3–Shutterstock; Section 4 (clockwise from top left)–Ben Edwards / USAID, Riccardo Gangale / USAID, Morgana Wingard for USAID, Morgana Wingard for USAID, Issouf Sanogo / AFP. Graphic Design: Nan Dearborn /USAID
Last updated: July 15, 2013