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The ten most electrified countries in Africa

WITH more than 600 million people without access to electricity in Africa, governments across the continent have prioritised power sector investment and development in a bid to kickstart socioeconomic growth and industrialisation.

Working towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 – universal access to affordable, reliable and modern electricity services – significant progress has and continues to be made to electrify Africa, with several countries emerging as frontrunners. Below are the ten most electrified countries on the continent as compiled by Energy Capital & Power, an Africa-focused global leading investment platform for the energy sector.

Egypt: 100 percent electricity access

Bordering the Mediterranean Ocean and the Red Sea, Egypt has achieved a 100 percent national electricity access rate for both the rural and urban population. Egypt’s electricity is sourced mainly from hydropower and thermal power stations, with the country advancing as a leader in the renewable energy sector. Currently, the country is developing plans to export surplus electricity via interconnections to Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan African.

Morocco: 100 percent access

Morocco is among the top electrified countries in Africa, achieving a 100 percent national electricity access rate for both its rural and urban populations. Located in north Africa and bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, Morocco represents a high potential renewable energy market, particularly regarding solar. With plans to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 52 percent for wind and solar by 2030, major developments are currently underway.

Tunisia: 100 percent access

Covering all of its domestic consumption needs, Tunisia boasts 100 percent national electricity access for both rural and urban areas. The north African country predominantly generates its electricity from natural gas and is on track for long-term investment in renewable energy, targeting a 30 percent share of renewables by 2023.

Algeria: 99.8 percent access

With a 99.8 percent national electricity access rate – 99.6 percent in rural areas and 99.9 percent in urban areas ­– Algeria ranks among some of the top electrified countries in Africa. Natural gas accounts for 96 percent of the country’s installed capacity with the remaining 4 percent sourced from a combination of oil, solar, hydropower and wind.

Gabon: 91.6 percent access

Meanwhile, in Gabon, the country boasts an electricity access rate of 91.6 percent. Electricity access in rural areas stands at 27.8 percent, the urban population has an access rate of 98.6 percent. Under the Gabon Emergent Policy, the oil-rich country aims to introduce a sustainable energy mix including biomass, natural gas and hydropower in efforts to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and improve access to electricity across the rural population.

Ghana: 85.9 percent access

Ghana’s electricity mix is dominated by hydropower energy, thermal energy and gas. Currently, the country has a national electricity access rate of 85.9 percent with 74 percent access in rural areas and 94 percent in urban zones. The west African nation has sound prospects of better balancing its sources for electricity generation as it is endowed with significant natural gas reserves as well as various renewable resources.

South Africa: 84.4 percent access

South Africa currently generates most of its electricity from coal, with the country’s national access to electricity rate standing at 84.4 percent – 75.3 percent for rural areas and 88.8 percent in urban areas. The country is targeting energy diversification; scaling up investment and development in renewable energy in a bid to reduce the reliance on coal and further improve access. By 2030, South Africa intends to reduce coal use to less than 60 percent while increasing renewables to 25 percent.

Botswana: 72 percent access

The land-locked southern African country of Botswana mainly generates its electricity from coal, wood and petroleum, relying on coal and petroleum product imports from South Africa and other regional neighbours. The country has an urban electricity access rate of 90.7 percent and 26.4 percent rural access rate, bringing the national rate to 72 percent. National targets to achieve a 100 percent electricity access rate by 2030 are underway with the country looking at utilizing its abundant wind and solar resources.

Kenya: 71.4 percent access

With a 71.4 percent national electricity access rate, comprising 62.7 percent for rural areas and 94 percent for urban areas, Kenya has the highest access rate in east Africa. Kenya’s energy mix includes hydropower, geothermal energy, wind power, solar power and biomass. With the bulk of electricity coming from renewable resources, Kenya ranks as a regional leader in renewable energy. The east African country intends to improve access to electricity, prioritizing rural electrification.

Senegal: 70.4 percent access

Utilising various energy sources, Senegal generates most of its electricity from solar, wind, biomass and natural gas. With an estimated national electricity access rate of 70.4 percent, further detailed as 47.4 percent for rural areas and 95.2 percent for urban areas, the west African country is targeting universal access to electricity by 2025, driven by new gas-to-power developments and renewable investments.

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