Key Messages

Energy is central to almost every challenge we face today — security, climate change, food production, or job creation. Access to electricity brings concrete health benefits, besides an evident improvement in wellbeing. For the emerging economies in the Global South, universal access to energy can result in improvement in various areas. Among them are education, health, and productivity. Thus, energy is a key driver for rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Lack of electricity carries a huge cost. It lowers agricultural and economic productivity, reduces opportunities for income generation, and affects the overall ability of a nation to improve its living conditions. Further, poor electricity access makes domestic chores more labour-intensive, inhibiting the participation of women and youth in the workforce. Lack of electricity is both a cause and a consequence of a country’s poor economic condition.

The electricity distribution companies are responsible for supplying the consumers with energy. As such, they have a central role in access expansion. However, constraints related to affordability and business profitability are key barriers to the expansion of electricity.

Financially Sound Utilities Are Imperative for Universal Access to Affordable and Clean Energy