Ethiopia Electrification Program : electricity access in africa

Access to electricity in Africa

Background information

Energy sector has invaded all level of social and economic life in the world. Governments are undergoing huge transformation plans. This transformation phase is essential to overcome the energy crisis. The major problem we are trying to discuss in this article is the problem of access to electricity in Africa, taking Ethiopia as an illustration. This vast country, which stretches to 1,126,829 km² and have a massive population of 90 million dweller. The astounding fact is that 70 per cent of the total inhabitants are living in the dark with no electrical accessibility! Electrical power projects have become a necessity of change for many countries and mainly for Ethiopia the second largest over populated country in Africa and Middle East.

The importance of access to energy

Energy evokes and touches on every aspect of modern life. We need energy almost for everything. However and despite these global evolutions of life style, many are still living outside the energy access border. For instance, as mentioned earlier, Ethiopia has a lack of 70 per cent to accessibility to electricity. This deficiency of energy affects even other utilities such as hospitals and clinics, which have only 30 per cent of electrical exigencies. Education also is affected by the lack of energy where we find only 24 per cent of children primary school have electricity. For the most part, energy is tremendously important and it is the corner stone of economic and social development. It is crucial to decrease poverty, crime and famine.

Ethiopia Electrification Program

Factors and horizons

The world, namely, developing countries are suffering from no access to lighting or electric prerequisites. The number of this category is immense: 1.06 billion person are living in darkness. Coming back to the case study, Though Ethiopia has great energy calibers of unexploited sources; the minimum access to electrical power is not available. The World Bank and the Ethiopian government are building a strategy to integrate electricity in remote areas without grids (off grid electrification). The fund raised for this program is 375 million dollar. The program is not only about raising funds to electrification; it is also about capacity building of the inhabitants about electricity. The ultimate aim of the program is to establish profound reforms. In terms of concrete action, the direct objective of the program is the installation of new connectivity grids (off or on). The target number of beneficiaries is one million family. That is considered one of the major programs of electrification ever done in Africa. No need to mention that renewable energy (photovoltaic), which are abundantly available in the country, will play a key factor and major role in this roadmap.

The limitations and obstacles

Even though energy consumption in Ethiopia is enormous, the needs are not met. Weird enough, Ethiopia electric power grids are already installed, but not utilized. About 80 percent of the inhabitants are gathered near distribution grids. In addition, Ethiopia is rich of solar, wind and biomass renewable energies, but no one is using any of these powers. Then, the major problem is that these grids (already installed) are old and non-modernized.


Similarly, the needs of 90 million inhabitants requires a transformational phase of reforms. The chief orientation of the next era is to provide mini grids to households, that way each one has his own energy satisfaction. Hand in hand with this step, many awareness campaigns are launched on how to use electrical outlets in Ethiopia and how to conserve energy.

Eventually, the optimization of grids and the adaptation of innovative technologies are great efforts that the governments should undergo, but this would not be an easy task. The strategy of this roadmap has to be accomplished by 2025. It is true that this developing country has miles and miles to go along; however, these efforts to achieve a luminous Ethiopia are making the country a role model.

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