Unreliable Electricity Supply Affects Majority of Africans‚ Survey Finds


Only four in 10 Africans enjoy a reliable power supply‚ according to a report by Afrobarometer which surveyed electricity supply in 36 countries on the continent.

This worsens in some rural areas where an overwhelming majority are in the dark.

While North African countries and Mauritius are able to provide reliable electricity for most or all of their citizens‚ they are the exception. In some countries‚ the electric grid reaches only a fraction of the population; in others‚ an extensive grid is undermined by inadequate supply and poor service.

“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‚” the study found.

Even households connected to the grid don’t necessarily have lights‚ the report said.

On average‚ only 69% of connected households actually have electricity that works most or all of the time.

In Nigeria‚ while 96% of households are connected‚ only 18% of these connections function more than about half the time.

In Ghana‚ where “dumsor” (Akan for “off-on”) has become a household word‚ 87% of households are connected‚ but only 42% of those connections provide reliable power. Yet that’s still three times the rate of well-functioning connections in Guinea (12%).

Combining the effects of no electric grid‚ no household connection‚ and poor connection quality means that citizens with a reliable power supply number only 7% in Malawi.

At the other extreme are Mauritius (100%)‚ Morocco (92%)‚ Egypt and Algeria (both 88%)‚ and Tunisia (83%).

South Africa scores well on access to the electric grid at 95% and achieves 79% on the measurement of “connected‚ works most or all of the time”.

Burundi is the worst country assessed‚ with 17% of its citizens recorded as having access to the grid.

– Afrobarometer is a pan-African‚ non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys. The electricity report was based on nearly 54‚000 interviews in 36 African countries in 2014/2015.


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