Ensuring access to affordable, modern energy is central for sustainable development and poverty reduction, and plays a prominent role in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Unless energy can be reliably produced, delivered and made accessible to poor households at affordable cost, it will stay beyond the reach of many in developing countries.
Approximately 28 per cent of people in developing countries currently lack access to electricity— compared to a staggering 70 per cent or more in the world’s least-developed countries (LDCs) and in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). As well, about three billion people around the world still rely on solid fuels for cooking. In addition to environmental impacts, the use of firewood, charcoal and agricultural waste for cooking has adverse effects on health. Two million deaths each year are associated with burning solid fuels in unventilated kitchens. Some 44 per cent of those who die are children; among adult deaths, 60 per cent are women.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 1.4 billion people will still lack access to electricity in 2030 unless new approaches and policies are adopted to adapt electrification programmes to local contexts and national environments. Greater broad-based efforts are needed to develop the policies and provide the support needed to considerably accelerate the expansion of access to modern energy services. Concerted action by the international community and regional, national and local partners is critical to improve the coherence and delivery of energy access programmes and strategies.