Which Countries Lack Electricity?
In 2012, the United Nations launched its worldwide
effort to fight energy poverty , marking the “International Year of Sustainable Energy
for All”. Energy poverty is considered a lack of energy infrastructure and resources.
Roughly one in seven people around the world lack access to electricity, almost exclusively
in developing countries. Although things are improving, many have said that too little
change is happening too slowly. So we wanted to know, which countries don’t have electricity? Well, it is estimated that anywhere from 1.1
to 1.3 billion people live without electric power. To make up for a lack of deliverable
energy, nearly 3 billion people around the world use coal or wood fuel for heat and cooking,
contributing to deadly pollution. This pollution is thought to be responsible for more than
4 million deaths every year. The overwhelming concentration of energy poverty
is found in rural India and sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past few years, India has dramatically
improved its power infrastructure, and in 2014, was the third largest electricity producer
in the world. Yet, roughly 300 to 400 million people without electricity live in rural Indian
states. And even for those who do have power, the energy grid is notoriously unreliable.
In 2012, a nationwide blackout affected more than 600 million people. Although the Indian
government has launched efforts to provide 24-hour power to the entire country, some
have accused politicians of only directing energy to politically important districts. While India has made some progress, sub-Saharan
Africa is still struggling. Altogether, Africa has about twice as many people without power
as India – roughly 600 million. The country with the least access to electricity in the
world is South Sudan, which also has one of the lowest education and literacy rates. The
World Bank notes that in 2012, only 5% of the country’s 11-million-person population
had electricity. In fact, across all of sub-Saharan Africa only about a quarter of the population
has access to electric energy. What’s worse is that the lack of electricity means that
power is considerably more expensive, with electricity costing three time as much as
it might in the rest of the developing world. Additionally, on average, African manufacturers
suffer nearly 2 months’ worth of power outages a year, severely disrupting economic progress.
In the past two decades, as energy dependence has become increasingly important, Africa
has only received about $600 million dollars annually in energy assistance from foreign
countries. The UN’s Sustainable Energy Goals are focused
on providing universal access to power and clean fuel, doubling the amount of renewable
energy, and doubling the rate of energy efficiency. Efforts like President Barack Obama’s Power
Africa initiative are focused on bringing foreign advisors and financial help to figure
out how best invest in Africa’s energy infrastructure. Still, despite these efforts, the World Bank
has said that there needs to be considerably more sustained investment to even consider
meeting those goals. To see my recent report from Tanzania and
the different ways in which the people there are hacking the energy crisis, check out this
video. An to learn more about energy poverty, visit One.org/energy. Thanks for watching
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