Energy is a key element for growth and development. It is needed to have clean water access, better education, advancement in health care system, improvement in engineering, running businesses, and progress in technology. This means that having sustainable and reliable electricity access is necessary to increase economic growth.

The lack of electricity access limits a country from growing and competing on the global economy as it enables people to  be more productive and improve their social status. People without electricity access are deprived from the great benefits which include: getting better education, developing new technologies, using electric equipment to speed up their work, and being productive even at night time.

This is clearly reflected in countries that still have no electricity access when compared to the advancements in the rest of the world. While other countries have: skyscrapers, robotic technologies, advanced medical facilities, and enhanced engineering, countries without access to energy remain stagnant with almost no improvement for many decades.

People from these countries are still fetching unsafe water from streams and rivers, using traditional biomass for cooking which causes air pollution, dying from untreated diseases because they lack advanced medical facilities, experiencing total darkness at night, and not getting good education which is crucial to have more opportunities in life.

The worst condition of stagnant economy and poverty are widely observed in sub-Saharan Africa in which 600 million people (57% of their total population) still have no access to electricity. Fortunately, the United Nations (UN) together with the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Energy Agency (IEA) are helping governments especially low-income countries to achieve universal electricity access.

The project of achieving universal electricity access has made a notable progress for the past decades which increased energy access rates in many countries particularly in Asia. India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Thailand are few of beneficiaries of the project that improved their energy access rates from less than 20% to more than 90%. Now the concentration is more focused on sub-Saharan Africa which is targeted to be finished by 2030.

The UN, WBG, and IEA are opting to use mini-grids instead of the traditional macro-grids to deliver electricity in rural areas such as in sub-Saharan Africa. Mini-grids are renewable energy systems that do not require a connection to the macro-grids. They can be use in different scales: from a small town to an entire municipality making them the most appropriate solution to bring electricity to isolated areas. Mini-grids are the most cost-efficient and quick solution to achieve global energy access.

Providing electricity access to low-income countries like sub-Saharan Africa gives them an equal chance to compete in the global economy. It opens more opportunities for them to have a better life and experience the beautiful things that people with electricity have.

Achieving universal energy access can solve many global issues particularly poverty. The United Nation, World Bank Group, and International Energy Agency are using all possible solutions to bring full electricity access as soon as possible. There is still a long way to go in closing the energy access gap. There may be failures and more challenges along the way but with the dedication and determination being put in this project, we know that we are about to achieve global energy access.

Author's Bio: 

Isabella Whitmore is an aspiring researcher and a writer about health, environment, households, and appliances. You can find some of her work at, an appliance website that offers energy saver electric kettles.