Across Sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth is dependent mostly upon access to reliable energy, but most of Africa remains without power.
In Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, The DRC, Malawi South Sudan over 75% of the population is without access to electricity and in rural areas (which account for over 80% of the population) access rates fall below 10%. That represents an un-served market of 150 million people in those countries alone or over 30 million households and 600 million people across sub-Saharan Africa.
The immediate response to these figures is to promote household power via Solar Home Systems and indeed this forms a key part of Africa Power’s business plan. However, only productive use of power in businesses (micro-enterprises) will lift these people out of poverty. Grid power is unreliable, and this unreliability has been estimated to reduce GDP growth by up to 2%.
We estimate the power demand and revenue from productive use of power is 2-4 times larger than household power and is “self-financing” in the sense that increased income from new and expanded businesses is more than adequate to cover the costs of the provision of the power and the productive end-use equipment.