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Agency: About 1 Billion Africans to Gain Access to Electricity by 2040

electricgridsAlmost 1 billion Africans will gain access to electricity by 2040 although more needs to be done to bolster power generation across the continent, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Monday.

In its first Africa Energy Outlook, the IEA said grid-linked power generation was set to quadruple between 2020 and 2040, but noted that was from a low base of 90 gigawatts (GW) today.

“Reform programs are starting to improve efficiency and to bring in new capital, including from private investors,” it said.

“The total number without access starts to decline in the 2020s and 950 million people gain access to electricity by 2040 is a major step forward, but not enough,” the report said.

Much more needs to be done, IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven told Reuters, noting more investment was needed for domestic projects.

“What we see now is that $2 out of every $3 being used in sub-Saharan Africa is used for export,” van der Hoeven said, referring to investment in the continent.

Even if Africa does expand power generation in line with the IEA’s 2040 scenario, large pockets of energy poverty would persist.

“More than half a billion people, mainly in rural areas, remain without electricity in 2040,” the report said.

Energy Sources

Much of Africa’s additional electricity will be generated by renewable energy sources, the IEA said.

“Sub-Saharan Africa starts to unlock its vast renewable energy resources, with almost half of the growth in electricity generation to 2040 coming from renewables,” the report said.

It said West African oil production was set to fall by more than 12 percent between 2020 and 2040 while demand would rise, squeezing the region’s exports.

It said current oil production of more than 6 million barrels per day (bpd) would fall to 5.3 million while demand for oil products including gasoline and diesel would double to 4 million bpd.

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