Almost 20 years ago, approximately 400 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa had no access to electricity. Today, the number of people without access has increased, as the population growth has outpaced infrastructure development. As a result, there are over 600 million people with no access to electricity today.
The lack of access to electricity is a particular problem in rural areas. Around 63% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is rural, of which only 19% has access to energy, compared to 63% of the urban population.
Access to clean and affordable energy is critical for development; it is vital in powering water supplies, telecommunication services, health care, education and of course, preserving the environment. Moreover, it could be the catalyst for economic development in rural areas where it has the potential to create more jobs and new industries.
However, if current energy access trends continue, there will still be 655 million people in Africa without access to power in 2030.
To date, government’s preferred approach to addressing electricity access in Africa has been through large-scale grid rollout programmes. For people living in rural areas, often with no grid nearby – this approach is not only impractical but also unsustainable in the long term. For this reason, Africa’s rural population are better off turning to alternative off-grid solutions for their energy needs.
“Schneider Electric has placed access to energy at the heart of our company strategy, where sustainability forms the basis of all of our key objectives and indicators. Our role is to make sure that Life Is On for everyone, and we achieve this by delivering efficient, and sustainable solutions,” says Zanelle Dalglish, Schneider Electric South Africa Head of Sustainable Development for Anglophone Africa.