Sustainable Development

Power Gaps: Global Electricity Access

Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. As we approach the halfway point towards the SDGs, the world is off-track to reaching the goal of universal access to electricity according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The share of the world’s population with access to electricity has increased from 78% in 2000 to 87% in 2015 and 91% in 2021. Over this time period, the number of people without access has decreased globally from 1.3 billion in 2000 to 675 million in 2021. Still, regional progress has been highly uneven. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for more than 80% of those without access – 567 million people. The report said that “[d]espite steady progress in the access rate over the past decade, the number of people without access in the region remained stagnant because of population growth.”

It is projected that global access will increase to 92% in 2030, meaning that 660 million people, the vast majority in Sub-Saharan Africa, will be without access in 2030 unless global access rates increase markedly over the next years.

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