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WEC: Africa struggles to keep up with global electricity access

While access to electricity has improved across the world, sub-Saharan Africa would continue its struggle to light up the continent by 2050, the latest report by the World Energy Council (WEC) shows.

The "World Energy Scenarios - Composing Energy Futures to 2050" report revealed that Africa remained behind the rest of the world and would, in the next 30 years, continue to have the most people without access to electricity.

The WEC based its research on two possible scenarios until 2050, namely, Jazz, which examined a potential world where there was a consumer focus on achieving energy access, affordability, and quality of supply with the use of best available energy source, and Symphony, which focused on driving environmental sustainability and energy security through corresponding international practices and policies.

In 2010, 1.27-billion people worldwide were without access to electricity. By 2050, this was expected to decrease to 319-million under the Jazz scenario and 530-million under the Symphony scenario.

Africa would be home to the biggest proportion of people without access to electricity.

About 589-million of Africa's population had no access to electricity in 2010. The WEC predicted that this would drop, by 2050, to 266-million in the Jazz scenario and to 402-million in the Symphony scenario.

This was compared with South and Central Asia, which would host 102-million people without access to electricity under the Symphony scenario and 45-million people under the Jazz scenario - a significant decline from the 471-million people in the dark in 2010.

The entire population of East Asia would have access to electricity in both scenarios by 2050, as would the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

South East Asia and the Pacific was expected to report that eight-million of its population would be without access to electricity by 2050 in the Jazz version and 26-million in the Symphony scenario.

The report revealed that the world had entered into unprecedented uncertainty for the energy sector, with a key challenge being meeting the increasing future energy demand.

The world's population will increase from about 7-billion in 2013, to 8.7-billion by 2050 in the Jazz scenario and 9.4-billion in the Symphony scenario.

The WEC estimated that the global total primary energy supply would increase from 546 EJ/y in 2010 to 879 EJ/y in 2050 in the Jazz scenario and 696 EJ in the Symphony scenario.

Total primary energy supply from South and Central Asia would register 96 EJ/y and 136 EJ/y in the Symphony and Jazz scenarios respectively, up from 43 EJ/y in 2010.

Sub-Saharan Africa would register the lowest total energy supply at 50 EJ/y and 46 EJ/y by 2050 in the Jazz and Symphony outlooks respectively – double the supply of the 23 EJ/y reported in 2010.

South East Asia and the Pacific would record an increase from the 2010 32 EJ/y, to 54 EJ/y in the Symphony scenario and 71 EJ/y in the Jazz scenario.

In 2010, global electricity production was 21.5-billion MWh.

In the Jazz scenario, this would record a rise to 53.6-billion MWh and in the Symphony case, the increase would be about 123% to 47.9-billion MWh, by 2050.

Additional information: Full report
News date: 15/10/2013

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