Sub-Saharan Africa faces great challenges with 76% of its rural population living under the poverty line, 85% is un-electrified and low consumer demand and long distances make extending the grid to these areas prohibitively expensive. African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina announced the ambitious ‘New Deal for Energy in Africa’ – targeting 130 million grid-connections and 75 million off-grid connections – linking to Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ in the USA.
While there are many similarities with the energy challenges of 1930’s USA, advancements in renewable, decentralised technologies have created game-changing differences. In 2011, the International Energy Agency found that mini-grids provide the most cost effective way to reach over 480 million rural people with electricity.
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