ELECTRICITY ACCESS RISING IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Thanks to the expansion of utility-scale grids and falling costs, which both help to bring small-scale, off-grid renewable energy to rural communities, more and more Africans have access to electricity. But, as these charts show, there is a long way to go before universal access can be achieved. Intermittent supply, poor 'final mile' connectivity and high electricity prices create problems, even in relatively urbanised areas.
In rural Africa, access to electricity remains very low, although this could improve quickly if the provision of cheap household solar power units I which are already viable and popular in some African markets--can be scaled up. This is one area where the private sector is increasingly able to take a lead because low costs reduce the need for government and multilateral support.
Caption: RURAL ACCESS
Caption: URBAN ACCESS
GRID LOSSES REMAIN A PROBLEM
Cash-strapped utilities in sub-Saharan Africa have struggled to staunch inefficiencies in their transmission and distribution networks. The situation is improving in some countries through moves to put struggling utilities on an even keel, both financially and organisationally, by restructuring, increasing end-user tariffs to commercially viable levels and improving payment collections. For more on what's happening around Africa, see the power utilities article on p72.
Caption: GRID LOSSES
Energy intensity--a measure of energy efficiency--has fallen across subSaharan Africa. There are many factors that influence energy intensity, but increased access to electricity and the adoption of more efficient generating and consumer technology help to push it down.
However, the overall figure remains high compared to other regions of the world. This is partly because the pervasive and inefficient use of biomass for cooking and heating in rural areas has pushed up the figures in some countries. Weak energy-efficiency policies also keep the figures high in some countries.
The regional average ratio of seven in 2015 hides wide disparities from region to region and from country to country. For example, in Ghana the figure was four, in Mozambique it was 17 and in Liberia it was 26. For comparison, energy intensity in the European Union stood at 3.7 in 2015, while in the US it was 5.4.
Caption: ENERGY INTENSITY
GAS OVERTAKES COAL IN AFRICAN ELECTRICITY GENERATION
Power demand in Africa is rising...