Energy Access

Poor energy access is an endemic and crippling problem.  Nearly 1.4 billion people, including 600 million in Africa, have no access to any electricity, and millions more find power too unreliable or too expensive to achieve real prosperity. Boosting generation and access is a top priority for African governments, and the United States has an opportunity to help with the President’s Power Africa Initiative and the Electrify Africa Act. However, the success of these efforts depends on a realistic approach with updated tools.


With at least a billion people worldwide living without electricity, and many millions more held back by blackouts and high costs, improving energy access is increasingly a top priority in developing countries. It is imperative that modern energy targets are set in a meaningful and practical way.

Americans on average use three times the electricity than what the typical South African uses and 100 times the average Nigerian. A new single-family fridge uses more power per year than the average citizen in the six Power Africa countries.

OPIC logo

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the US government’s development finance institution. It is a leading agency in implementing President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative and the Electrify Africa Act. CGD’s work focuses on how OPIC can most effectively promote economic opportunity and growth.