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HUG THE MINI GRID 2

GOOD NIGHT, DARKNESS

Africa might leapfrog straight to cheap renewable electricity and mini-grids.Hug Mini Grid

Apart from speckles of light around the biggest cities, much of Africa is dark. Of all the measures of the continent’s poverty, few are starker than that about two-thirds of its people have no access to reliable electricity. The number of Africans without any power is 620 million, most of them in villages and on farms. The African Progress Panel (APP) found that in nine African countries fewer than one in five primary schools had lights. A study by the World Health Organization found that about a quarter of clinics and hospitals in 11 African countries have no power of any kind, and many of the rest get it from generators that often break down or run out of fuel.  If you don’t have electricity you don’t have a fridge, and if you don’t have a fridge hospitals can’t store vaccines. They rely on expensive backup generators, so the electricity they use is among the costliest in the world. This is the biggest single barrier to development.

Adding a house to the grid even in a compact country such as Rwanda typically costs about $2,000, which is more than the country’s average annual income per person. The APP reckons that expanding grid power across Africa to reach almost everyone would cost $63 billion a year until 2030, compared with the $8 billion a year that is being spent now. Continue reading HUG THE MINI GRID 2