Visualizing global energy poverty, and what we can do about it | 

There’s some big things happening on the energy front in Africa, thanks in large part to the Obama Administration’s Power Africa initiative.

If you want to know why this is such a big deal, and a big need, this post featuring seven graphic illustrations from Todd Moss and Madeleine Gleave at the Center for Global Development offers an excellent overview.

The authors note that 600 million Africans today live without power, seriously undermining their lives on all sorts of fronts – health, economic opportunity, safety and efficiency. But the solution won’t just be about bringing more power to the poor; Moss and Gleave make it clear rich countries need to make some changes as well.

Here’s one of the graphics from the post by Moss and Gleave:


Read the entire (short) post at CGD and take a look at the other six illustrations. A great and easy-to-digest overview of the global energy landscape.


World Bank Bets on Universal Energy Access by 2030 | 


The World Bank and the International Energy Agency are leading a push to bring electricity to the 1.2 billion people who are living with out it around the world. They estimate it will cost $50 billion to achieve universal access to electricity and clean and modern cooking by 2030.

The fuel sources for 2.8 billion people will need to change in that period. That represents the number of people who still rely on traditional solid fuels including wood, charcoal and animal/crop waste for cooking and heating. Twenty countries in Asia and Africa account for 2/3 of people without electricity and 3/4 of people using solid fuels. Those nations will serve as the area of greatest focus for the initiative.

Progress from 1990 to 2010 is promising. In two decades 1.7 billion people gained access to electricity and 1.6 billion made the switch to modern fuels for household cooking. An impressive number, but only slightly ahead of population growth during the same period of time. To reach the goal of universal access, the World Bank estimates that the pace will have to double between now and 2030.

Indoor smoke is a serious problem. It is responsible for an estimated 4 million premature deaths each year with the majority of deaths women and children. Continue reading

World Bank President Leads Charge Against Climate Change | 

Jim Kim
Jim Kim
World Bank

The World Bank unveiled its plan to end extreme poverty by 2030 recently.

The rapid progress of India, China and Brazil blazed the path towards exceeding the global Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015. Now the Bank wants to rid the world of extreme poverty forever.

Ending extreme poverty will require the acceleration of economic growth in developing countries and translating that growth into jobs while eliminating inequality, said World Bank President Jim Kim in a blogger call yesterday morning. Work must be done to mitigate the shocks caused by natural disasters and eliminate the insecurity linked to food, fuel and poverty, he added.

Linking all of these problems, for Kim, is climate change.

“Climate change is not just an environmental challenge. It’s a fundamental threat to economic development and the fight against poverty,” he said. Continue reading

A map of Africa’s potential for solar, renewable energy | 

An organization called the European Commission Joint Research Centre has issued a report that says many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa have some of the world’s best potential for solar power.

As reports:

Tapping into Africa’s renewable energy could transform living standards across the continent, according to a report that has mapped the potential of renewables in the region.

Here’s one map from the report of the potential for solar power in Africa. Darker brown means more intense energy from the sun:

European Commission

Most Africans lack access to electricity | 

This is an interesting post and graphic illustration by GOOD, showing one often overlooked area of neglect in Africa. Many people there lack access to electrical power. As the article says:

In population and land mass, Africa is the second largest continent in the world, trailing only Asia. But, amazingly, a majority of the billion people living on the continent survive every day with little to no access to electricity.

(Click on the graphic to improve size and resolution)