Population without access to electricity falls below 1 billion

Published Thursday, November 8, 2018
by Laura Cozzi

In a sign of great progress, over 120 million people worldwide gained access to electricity in 2017. This means that for the first time ever, the total number of people without access fell below 1 billion according to new data from World Energy Outlook 2018.

In particular, one of the greatest success stories in access to energy in 2018 was India completing the electrification of all of its villages. Many other Asian countries have also seen significant progress. In Indonesia, the electrification rate is almost at 95%, up from 50% in 2000. In Bangladesh, electricity now reaches 80% of the population, up from 20% in 2000.

Meanwhile in Africa, Kenya’s access rate has increased massively from 8% in 2000 to 73% today, and the Last Mile Connectivity Project aims to deliver universal access by 2022. In Ethiopia, electricity now reaches 45% of the population compared with just 5% in 2000. The National Electrification Program has set out a plan to reach universal access by 2025, aiming to reach 35% of the population with off-grid solutions.

Updated data from the World Health Organization and the IEA’s Energy Data Centre also show that the number of people without access to clean cooking facilities has begun to gradually decline, in part due to an increased reliance on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and on improved biomass cookstoves. This is very welcome news, as it will result in fewer premature deaths related to household air pollution.

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