Opportunities and challenges in achieving universal electricity in sub-Saharan Africa

03-09-2018 | Publication

Issue 115 of the Oxford Energy Forum focuses on the electrification of Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Due to significant expected population growth, the number of Africans without electricity access in 2030 may not fall much from today’s level of about 600 million, which is about 60 per cent of the world’s current population without access to electricity. The articles cover a wide variety of countries and issues, focusing on barriers to meeting electrification objectives and ways to overcome them.

This article reports on a study that explored ways to achieve universal electricity access in SSA, technology options, investment needs, and synergies and trade-offs with global climate policy, using the integrated assessment model IMAGE-TIMER. The study sought to identify the roles of individual and institutional actors and the role of regulations in the transition to universal electricity access in SSA. It involved workshops conducted in the Netherlands and Ethiopia with actors involved in the region’s electricity system; case studies of centralized and decentralized electrification programs and projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia; and a desk study.