Giving Compass’ Take:
• Sheila Herrling and Todd Moss discuss the importance of addressing global energy poverty to increase prosperity. Without reliable electricity, employers in many countries have to cut staff.
• How can funders begin to address global energy poverty? Where could you start to address this issue?
• Learn why energy projects need to prioritize scale.
More than a billion people worldwide live without access to basic electricity: One in every six people on Earth doesn’t have enough energy at home for indoor lighting or even to charge a mobile phone. But as appalling as that figure is, it has misled policy-makers, nonprofits, and funders about the true extent of global energy poverty. This misunderstanding has come with profound consequences, from squandering human capital and crippling emerging economies to short-circuiting discussions about how to solve energy poverty once and for all.
The real number of people living with energy poverty is more than three billion—that is how many people live in countries that lack the high-energy systems that fuel job creation, global competitiveness, and prosperity in the rest of the world.
The absence of 24/7 energy infrastructure has profoundly destructive effects in emerging economies. Only one in every three health facilities in Africa can count on reliable electricity needed to store vaccines or operate a clinic. Entrepreneurs in Senegal pay among the world’s highest rates for power, while businesses in Nigeria routinely rely on costly diesel generators instead of the country’s power grid. Cement plants in Uganda have cut production because of intermittent electricity. An aluminum smelter in Ghana that once employed more than 1,200 people and created at least 50,000 downstream jobs has been forced to run at just 20 percent capacity for the past decade because of chronic power shortages.
Read the full article about addressing global energy poverty by Sheila Herrling and Todd Moss at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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