A total of 552.3 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) still live without electricity.
This accounts for 70% of the global deficit of 789 million people, according to ‘The 2020 Energy Progress Report on Tracking SDG 7’.
The report shows that more than a billion people have gained access to electricity since 2010. As a result, 90% of the planet’s population was connected in 2018.
“…Yet despite accelerated progress in recent years, 789 million people still live without electricity. Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Asia, and South-eastern Asia are approaching universal access but Sub-Saharan Africa lags, accounting for 70% of the global deficit”.
The report reveals that the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 789 million in 2018. It however notes that under policies that were either in place or planned before the start of the COVID-19 crisis, an estimated 620 million people would still lack access in 2030, 85% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new urgency to expand sustainable energy solutions as the world continues to remain off-track to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030.
“Despite significant progress made on various aspects of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 before the start of the COVID-19 crisis – notably a reduction in the number of people worldwide lacking access to electricity, strong uptake of renewable energy for electricity generation, and improvements in energy efficiency – global efforts remain insufficient to reach the key targets of SDG 7 by 2030 especially if the COVID-19 pandemic seriously disrupts electrification efforts”.
The World Bank has advised that to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets by 2030, countries must safeguard the gains attained before the COVID-19 outbreak and prioritize leaving no one behind, given the large proportion of the population without access that lives in remote, rural, poorer, and vulnerable communities.
“This will require stronger political commitment, long-term energy planning, increased public and private financing, and adequate policy and fiscal incentives to spur faster deployment of new technologies”.
On clean cooking, the report finds that almost three billion people residing mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa remained without access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking,
The report says under current and planned policies, 2.3 billion people would still be deprived of access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in 2030.
“The COVID‑19 pandemic is likely to swell the toll of prolonged exposure of women and children to household air pollution caused by mainly using raw coal, kerosene, or traditional uses of biomass for cooking”.
Meanwhile, the use of renewables in heating and transport is lagging. The full impact of the COVID-19 crisis on renewables is yet to become clear.
The 2020 report introduces tracking on a new indicator, 7.A.1, on international financial flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy. Although total flows have doubled since 2010, reaching $21.4 billion in 2017, only 12% reached the least-developed countries, which are the furthest from achieving the various SDG 7 targets.
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