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It is extraordinary that in 2012 nearly 7 in 10 people living in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity or modern energy sources.
The majority of these people have to heat their homes and cook on open fires, using traditional fuels like wood. The smoke and fumes produced from these traditional energy sources contributes to nearly two million deaths every year across the world, mainly affecting women and children.
It also means that huge swathes of people have no evening light, limited access to modern communications and inadequate education and health facilities, which are all vital for reducing poverty.
There is a way to change this. Countries like Thailand have shown how it can be done, increasing the share of the population with access to electricity from 25% to almost 100% in just over a decade.
The same can be done in Africa, but unless we urgently change direction, 645 million people in sub-Saharan Africa will still not have electricity in 2030.
ONE is calling on world leaders to pledge their support to the goals of the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative as a first step towards achieving modern energy access for all by 2030, helping the poorest people in the world escape poverty.
Many things in our modern lives make us angry: long lines at the supermarket, missing the last bus, traffic jams, difficult-to-open packaging. Sometimes though, it’s worth taking stock and considering something we should be really angry about: energy poverty.Yesterday I was at the launch of the International Energy ... More
Earlier this week, before I was fired up to watch the first presidential debate, I had the privilege to view a screening of "Into the Niger Delta," a documentary about the catastrophic oil spills in the Niger Delta at a special screening at the George Washington University in D.C ... More
In the second of two short videos, Richenda Van Leeuwen, executive director of Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation, discusses what the private sector, governments and civil society can do in 2012 to tackle energy poverty. I had a chance to interview her during the the recent 2012 ... More
The recent 2012 Ashden Conference on Sustainable Solution for Better Lives had a focus on energy solutions and was chaired by Richenda Van Leeuwen, executive director of Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation. Ms. Van Leeuwen is an international energy expert with more than 20 years of experience ... More
Last week, the lights went out for roughly 2.7 million people thanks to a freak storm that swept the mid-Atlantic region. No power, no refrigerator, no air conditioning. With temperatures rocketing to 100 degrees, people resorted to sleeping in their basements to avoid the heat, and freezers full of ... More
This week, I had the opportunity to attend InterAction’s Best Practices and Innovation Initiative‘s award ceremony, which is aimed at sharing success stories and recognizing organizations that effectively build local capacity in countries around the world. Heifer International and Mercy Corps, two nonprofits from the agriculture and food ... More
Anti-poverty group ONE has responded to the announcement today by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that more than a hundred commitments and actions have already been mobilized in support of his Sustainable Energy for All initiative. This included over 20 from African countries. MORE
Nearly 7 in 10 people living in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to electricity, and 8 in 10 heat their homes and cook on open fires using traditional fuels like wood.
This contributes to nearly two million deaths every year across the world, mainly affecting women and children.
Currently by 2030, 645 million people (49% of the population) in sub-Saharan Africa will still not have electricity, and 900 million (68% of the population) people will still be cooking and heating their homes using inefficient cooking facilities.
Roughly 60% of African businesses cite access to reliable power as a binding constraint for their operations and growth; thereby severely limiting job growth and economic opportunities.