Access to electricity has stalled in many African countries

A Kenyan man in a yellow safety vest stands under a piece of large metallic tubing
A worker at Kenya’s Olkaria geothermal energy plant, via Wikipedia

In a recent article at The Conversation, Carolyn Logan says that the expansion of electrical grids across Africa has largely stalled since 2016.  As she notes,

Survey teams from the African research network Afrobarometer, asked people in 34 countries on the continent about access to electricity, and recorded the presence of an accessible grid. They found that expansion of national electric grids appeared to have largely stalled in recent years. And even in areas where an electric grid was accessible, service often remained unreliable.

About four in 10 Africans (42%) lack an electricity connection in their homes. This is either because they are in zones not served by an electric grid or because they are not connected to an existing grid. In 16 countries, more than half of respondents had no electricity connection. This included more than three quarters of citizens in Burkina Faso (81%), Uganda (80%), Liberia (78%), and Madagascar (76%).

Just getting access to the grid doesn’t guarantee reliable electricity, either.

Across 34 countries, one in four respondents (25%) who have an electricity connection say their electricity works “about half the time” or less (Figure 3). Quality is a particular problem in Malawi, where 88% of connected households do not have reliable electricity, and the situation is only slightly better in Guinea (79%) and Nigeria (79%). … Only 43% of Africans enjoy a reliable supply of electricity.

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