For the longest time, sub-Saharan Africa has deeply suffered from the lack of access to electricity. Whether residential or industrial, the energy sector is extremely underdeveloped. The region has the worst electricity access in the world. To give some perspective, sub-Saharan Africa has 13% of the world’s population, but it also has 48% of the world’s population without access to electricity. This percentage is equal to nearly 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without proper access to electricity.
Most of the region has an average grid access of only 20% and aside from South Africa, the average energy consumption is only around 150 kilowatt-hours per capita. While the continent has an incredible economic potential, limited access to electricity represents a real impediment to the fulfillment of the socioeconomic promise of the region.
These shortages make it hard for countries to sustain their GDP growth and bring upon positive change in the lives of their populations. In the meantime, demand for electricity keeps on growing on the continent. This increasing demand is motivated by: a greater power need for expanding commercial activities, a growing population and higher urbanization rates. By 2040, sub-Saharan Africa will consume as much electricity as India and Latin America did in 2010 combined.
Political will and private sector involvement to bring power to populations will be sine qua nons of the continent’s electricity supply development.
According to research led by McKinsey & Company, it takes 25 years on average to progress from 20% electrification rate to 80% electrification rate. This duration almost represents an entire generation. Another generation that could miss on the opportunity to significantly change the face of the continent. It is time to take action now and accelerate the process of powering the continent’s growth.
average grid access in the sub-saharan african region
MILLION people lack proper access to electricity in sub-saharan africa
of the world's population without access to electricity is in sub-saharan africa
kilowatt-hours per capita consumed in sub-saharan africa
...is a great cost for education.
The lack of access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa has an undeniable impact on education. According to our research using the World Bank database, we found that more than a 100 million students in the region do not have access to power at home in both rural and urban areas combined.
It is not uncommon to see students go out at night and sit under street lights or sit by a candle to do their homework, and that happens across major metropoles on the continent. We have been able to observe this problem for ourselves when we went on the field for some of our pilots. This staggering number is indicative of the pressing need for power on the continent. Limited access to power at home seriously decreases student productivity due to the fact that they cannot do their homework at home, in the evening.
While alternative solutions such as kerosene lamps, candles and solar lamps exist, they are not optimal. Each year for example, almost 80,000 young children unintentionally ingest kerosene spilled from lamps in South Africa; more than half contract chemically induced pneumonia.
Additionally, candles, in addition to providing low lighting, present a great danger of fire. As for solar lamps, they can be hard to direct towards the piece of paper, and are often used by other household members to conduct different tasks.
The Firefly Pen is compact, simple, reusable, intuitive, safe and durable, with a battery life of 9 months on average. With education being recognized as one of the most essential components to poverty reduction, Bright Future wants to ignite change through this inherent right in the 21st century.