12 Sub-Saharan African Countries With The Best Access To Electricity

By Peter Pedroncelli AFKI Original Published: April 18, 2017, 3:25 am
Access to electricity in AfricaAccess to electricity in Africa remains an important debate. Photo: Thinkstock

Many of us take access to electricity for granted, but only two out of every five people in Africa have decent access to energy to power lights and other electrical appliances throughout the day.

Around 625 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency.

North Africa is not considered within this discussion, as countries such as Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia have 100 percent energy access across the board, but for parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, this is not the case.

We take a look at 12 Sub-Saharan African countries with the best access to electricity.

Sources: Politico, ENCA, CNN, AfricaEnergyOutlook.

Over half of the country has access to electricity. Photo: promonigeria.blogspot.com

Nigeria 56 percent

Just ahead of Ivory Coast in terms of access to electricity (55.8 percent), in Nigeria 56 percent of the population are able to use electricity in their homes according to World Bank data.

mobile senegal

Community solar mobile phone charger being tested in Yeuma, Senegal. Photo: blog.littlesun.com

Senegal – 56.5 percent

The Senegalese are moving in the right direction in terms of the availability of power for their people, and while there is still a long way to go, at least 56.5 percent of the country is able to access decent electricity supply.

Electricity is available to most people in Sao Tome and Principe. Photo: Thinkstock

Sao Tome and Principe – 60.5 percent

The former Portuguese colony is another of the African nations that is above the 60 percent threshold for access to electricity on the continent, providing around 60.5 percent of the people in Sao Tome and Principe with electrical power.

Guinea Bissau provides access to over 60 percent of their people. Photo: Thinkstock

Guinea Bissau – 60.6 percent

Following on the heels of Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea Bissau can lay claim to access to electricity that rivals many of the countries on the African continent, with 60.6 percent of the people in the country accessing electricity supply.

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Ghana’s 155 megawatt Blue Energy solar project. Photo: pv-tech.org

Ghana – 64.1 percent

While the Ghanaian people may experience rolling blackouts and scheduled power rationing on a fairly consistent basis, the country can be proud to be among the top 10 African nations in terms of overall access to electricity.

In Equatorial Guinea, access to electricity is at 66 percent: Photo: Human Rights Watch/hrw.org

Equatorial Guinea – 66 percent

The oil-rich nation of Equatorial Guinea has developed in leaps and bounds since 1990, when access to electricity was at around 56.6 percent. The stat has improved to 66 percent, and will continue to rise.

Over 30 percent of the population do not have access to electricity in the Comoros. Image: DailyNabil.com

Comoros – 69.3 percent

A dramatic improvement in power access has seen the Comoros rise up in this list from 1990, when the percentage was around 42, to about 69.3 percent in 2012. Few African nations have experienced that kind of improvement in access.

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Mindelo, a port city on São Vicente, an island in the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde. Photo: JP De Manne/Getty

Cape Verde – 70.6 percent

Another of the former Portuguese colonies on this list, Cape Verde is able to provide over 70 percent of their people with energy from the electricity grid. This is a solid improvement compared to 58.2 percent in 1990.

Gabon

Gabon enjoys almost 90 percent access to electricity – gaboneco.com

Gabon – 89.3 percent

With World Bank statistics showing electricity access in Gabon at just below 90 percent, the Gabonese boast an incredibly high rate of access to electrical power, and with time they will continue to close the gap on those without power.

Some of the wind turbines erected at Eskom’s Sere wind farm (image: eskom.co.za)

South Africa – 90 percent

With around 90 percent of the population given access to electricity, South Africa is an example to other nations on the continent, considering the fact that the percentage has consistently improved from 77.1 percent in 2002 to 85.5 percent in 2015.

Youth groups help to rehabilitate island vegetation in Seychelles (Image: seychellesnewsagency.com)

Seychelles – 100 percent

One of only two countries within Sub-Saharan Africa to provide 100 percent of the population with access to electricity, the island nation of the Seychelles can boast a wonderful record that any African state would be proud of.

Mauritius offers 100 percent of their population electricity access. Photo: MauritiusAttractions

Mauritius – 100 percent

At number one in Sub-Saharan Africa, due to the size of their population being bigger than that of the Seychelles, Mauritius is the other country that offers all of their people access to electricity.

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