The lack of sufficient infrastructures in electricity and the resultant blackouts are a part of Africa’s electricity deficit, which have become a major hindrance to human and socioeconomic development. These in turn have adverse effects on health, education and other aspects of the economy.
Since the establishment of the MDGs and SDGs, electricity has become one of the major goals of several development initiatives involving stakeholders and organizations all over the world yet, access to off-grid electricity is still limited.
In its 2014/2015 surveys, Afrobarometer documented the reach and quality of electrical connections through nearly 54,000 interviews in 36 African countries as well as through direct observations in thousands of communities across the continent, thereby providing an experiential baseline for international and national efforts to develop adequate electricity infrastructures. Survey findings suggest that such initiatives will need long-term commitments and deep pockets.
Even households connected to the grid do not necessarily have light; actual household connections to the grid are somewhat lower (60% on average), and equally vary across countries. On average across the 36 countries, only four in 10 Africans enjoy a reliable power supply. While about two-thirds of Africans live in areas with access to an electric grid, in some countries seven in 10 citizens – and as many as nine in 10 in rural areas – do not.
Access to electricity is fundamental to opportunity in this age and it is the connection that is needed to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy.