Providing universal access to secure, affordable and modern energy is a cornerstone of economic inclusive growth and poverty reduction; as people rely on energy for cooking, heating and lighting.
Providing access to secure, affordable and modern energy to all human beings is a cornerstone of economic inclusive growth and poverty reduction; as people rely on energy for cooking, heating and lighting. Energy is also fundamental to community infrastructure and economic growth; as well as to powering and charging electrical devices.
Over the years, efforts to promote and provide access to electricity is paying off, since the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.7 billion in 2000 to 1.1 billion in 2016 (source: IEA). Yet, there remains significant challenges for providing electricity for all, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and its more remote areas. Even if access to electricity is increasing since 2013 in this region, there are still 590 million sub-Saharan Africans living without electricity (source: IEA).
Lacking power and light severely reduces the quality of life. Kerosene lamps are widely used for lighting, yet they are very inefficient, dangerous and expensive, and have extensive health and environmental drawbacks. Additionally, households face high fuel costs to meet their basic needs. Children also have reduced chances for after-school study time, which increases the risk of dropping school.
When people or communities get access to reliable energy access, it can provide them with great socioeconomic benefits: businesses can operate longer, community infrastructure such as hospitals no longer have to suffer from electricity shortages and children can do their homework properly. Communities without access to regular electricity can now leapfrog the ubiquitous grid electricity and incandescent light bulbs once associated with modernity. Local generation of electricity, whether it is through solar lanterns or solar home systems is now a possibility. They’re hardy, they last for years, and they’re incredibly energy efficient. In addition, solar home systems are becoming more cost competitive with kerosene or diesel and this type of technology has been largely used with pay-as-you-go financing. The problem is to get them there: the ‘last mile distribution’.