Off-Grid or 'off-on':Lack of Access, Unreliable Electricity Supply Still Plague Majority of Africans

Rolling blackouts may make headlines; a complete lack of electricity infrastructure usually doesn’t. Both are part of Africa’s electricity deficit, a major obstacle to human and socioeconomic development with pernicious effects on health (think of clinics without lifesaving equipment and refrigerated drugs and vaccines), education, security, and business growth. On average across the 36 countries, only four in 10 Africans enjoy a reliable power supply. While about two-thirds of Africans live in areas with access to an electric grid, in some countries seven in 10 citizens – and as many as nine in 10 in rural areas – do not. Actual household connections to the grid are somewhat lower (60% on average), and equally variable across countries.