Africa: Progress Toward 'Reliable Energy for All' Stalls Across Africa, Afrobarometer Survey Finds

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(file photo).
5 December 2019
press release

Accra, Ghana — Efforts to provide "reliable energy for all" are making little progress in Africa, a new Afrobarometer analysis shows.

Expansion of the electric grid appears to have stalled in most surveyed countries, and only about four in 10 African households enjoy a reliable supply of electricity, a marginal improvement from survey findings three years previously.

Findings from national surveys in 34 African countries are detailed in Afrobarometer's new Pan-Africa Profile on electricity, released today. The analysis shows that stark differences in access and reliable supply remain between countries, and rural residents and the poor are still at a great disadvantage when it comes to lights and power. This may explain why fewer than half of Africans think their government is doing a good job when it comes to providing a reliable supply of electricity.

Key findings:

- Access: Two-thirds (65%) of Africans live in areas served by an electric grid, with no evidence of significant gains since 2011/2013 (Round 5). While about nine out of 10 households in North and Central Africa have access to a grid, fewer than one-third of citizens do in Burkina Faso (28%), Madagascar (29%), Mali (30%), Guinea (32%), and Liberia (33%). Rural respondents are less than half as likely (44%) as urbanites (92%) to live within reach of a power grid.

- Connection: Fewer than six in 10 households (58%) are actually connected to an electric grid. Morocco, Tunisia, and Mauritius boast nearly universal coverage, but more than three out of four Burkinabè, Ugandans, Liberians, and Malagasy are still without an electricity connection.

- Reliability: Fewer than half (43%) of Africans enjoy a reliable supply of electricity, a marginal improvement since the previous survey round. While electricity that works most or all of the time is the norm in Mauritius (98%) and Morocco (91%), it's a luxury in Malawi (5%) and Guinea (7%). Ghana more than doubled its share of citizens reporting reliable power, from 37% in 2014 to 79%.

- Government performance: Fewer than half (45%) of Africans say their government is doing a good job of ensuring a reliable supply of electricity.

- Performance evaluations are strongly correlated with the level of access to the grid.

Survey background

Afrobarometer heads a pan-African, nonpartisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across Africa. After six rounds of surveys in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2015, Round 7 surveys included 45,823 interviews completed in 34 countries between September 2016 and September 2018.

Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent's choice with nationally representative samples that yield country-level results with margins of error of +/-2 to +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

Round 8 surveys are planned in at least 35 countries in 2019/2020.

Interested readers may follow releases, including Pan-Africa Profiles series of cross-country analyses, at #VoicesAfrica and www.afrobarometer.org .

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