According to the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) 1.3 billion people worldwide live with no electricity and, according to WHO, 3 billion are still cooking and heating their homes with solid fuel (wood, agricultural residues, charcoal and mineral, and animal dung) in open fires and leaky stoves. They are mostly poor people living in low- and middle-income countries.

70% of the territories with the least access to electricity are in southern Africa.

The lack of infrastructure for accessing electricity and adequate cooking facilities alongside the lack of capacity to meet basic energy needs has a number of negative impacts on the lives of the people and on the environment.

In many areas, finding firewood and fuel has caused daunting deforestation.

Access to energy provides a number of benefits in the following areas:

  • Education:

    • Reduces household chores and allows more time to go to school.

    • Offers the possibility to study overnight

    • Allows access to computers, radio and television 

  • Health and health care:

    • Improves quality of care: allows extended opening hours and the supplying of refrigerated vaccines and medicines.

    • Improves health:

      • Facilitates access to water and sanitation (pumping water)

      • Reduces risks derived from the collection and use of fossil fuels (when clean sources are used)

  • Economic growth

    • Helps create new business (new products and services)

    • Helps extend trading hours

  • Grants higher security standards (public lighting)

  • Helps gender equality

 Access to energy services is a prerequisite in order to achieve human development at a personal, national and global level.