My attention was recently drawn to an article written by one Nitrav Partel, a former Research Analyst – Global Economy and Development on the World Bank’s report on Electricity Access in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The report itself is dated 29th March 2019 and stresses on the importance of electricity for emerging technologies that affect all aspects of our lives. It also contained a sobering warning: “The current number of people without electricity will continue with Africa’s population boom”.
The report portrays 4 “boxes” which indicate varying levels of access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from below 25% (first box) to the fourth box that represents access of above 75%. The majority of SSA countries fall within the first and second boxes. There are 8 countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal in the third box and only 6 countries in the fourth box (75% access to electricity): in alphabetical order, Cabo Verde, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa. Let’s note that Cabo Verde, Mauritius and Seychelles are small island nations, and only Mauritius’ population is over a million.
Electricity consumption per capita (ECPC) is often used to measure the quality of life in a nation. If this measure is applied to the same 6 top countries, their ECPCs (without the unit’s ‘kWh’) reads as follows: Ghana (305), Cabo Verde (778), Gabon (1084), Mauritius (1978), Seychelles (3436) and South Africa (3787). What is more, the abysmal ECPC value of 305kWh for Ghana, a middle-income country, is the highest in the ECOWAS region.
A few weeks after studying this report, I zoomed into the Ghana Economic Forum event and was drawn by the comment that Ghana is using less and less electricity because of high tariffs and low economic growth. My search also confirmed that Ghana’s generating capacity is two times higher than peak demand and that Ghana pays a huge amount of money for unused power annually.
Posted on the Website by the World Bank around 2002/2003