Demand for electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is growing fast – driven primarily by economic growth and by policies for widening access to electricity – and yet production capacity has developed very little since the 1990s. Even today only 30% of the population has access to electricity – compared with 80% worldwide – and the economies of many African countries are severely disadvantaged by the quality and quantity of electricity at their disposal. The economies of Tanzania and Uganda, for example, lose an estimated 4% to 6% of GDP every year to power cuts. Now the international community is starting to take action to remedy this situation. Having been completely overlooked in the Millennium Development Goals, energy is now a priority for the UN and the EU, through the Sustainable Energy for All programme – which aims to increase access to energy while growing the proportion of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.
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