Nigeria now world capital of electricity blackouts

April 23, 2021
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With “unreliable and widespread blackouts,” Nigeria now has the highest percentage of the population without access to electricity globally, overtaking the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Bank says.

According to the World Bank, 25 percent of Nigeria’s over 200 million population did not have access to electricity supply, while many with access to electricity battled widespread blackouts and unreliable electricity supply for years.

“Nigeria now has the largest number of unelectrified people globally, and the trend is worsening; of the electrified, the supply is very unreliable with widespread blackouts,” it said.

The financial institution noted that the electricity supply had grown from 1.1 per cent yearly since 2010 but at a slow pace compared to the population growth of three per cent yearly.

“Nigeria now has 25 per cent more un-electrified people than the second most unelectrified country (DRC – in absolute terms). For the bottom, 40 percent of the population (mostly rural), access to grid electricity is even lower at about 31 per cent nationwide. Regionally, only South-West has access of over 50 per cent (except Kano),” it said.

In his presentation, Ashish Khanna, the WBG Practice Manager, West, and Central Africa Energy, noted, “The power sector is operationally inefficient with unreliable supply exacerbated by high losses and lack of payment discipline.”

Mr. Khanna explained that many businesses had lost their grounds due to the epileptic power supply in Africa’s most populous country.

“Businesses in Nigeria lose about $29 billion annually because of unreliable electricity while Nigerian utilities get paid for only a half of electricity they receive,” he added.

The bank further stated that 80 per cent of grid-connected households have less than six hours of electricity daily, while 40 per cent of those with access to power rely on other means.

It, however, pointed out that the PRSP aimed to foster a change in the electricity situation while revealing that $1.25 billion was approved by the board between June 2020 and February 2021 to reset the power sector.

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