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Nigeria overtakes Congo, becomes highest globally to lack electricity access

Nigeria has overtaken the Democratic Republic of Congo with 25 percent of people without access to electricity, making it the country globally with the highest number of citizens that lack access to power.

This was revealed by the World Bank Group officials during a virtual engagement with power reporters in Abuja on the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP).

“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,” said a presentation from the group.

It stated that electrification, which was growing at 1.1% yearly since 2010, has not kept pace with the population growth of 3% yearly. This has increased the deficit by 3 million people to 85m which is 57% of the population.

“Nigeria now has 25% more unelectrified people than the 2nd most unelectrified country (DRC – in absolute terms).”

Commenting, WBG Practice Manager, West and Central Africa Energy, Ashish Khanna, who had presented the document, said: “The power sector is operationally inefficient with unreliable supply exacerbated by high losses and lack of payment discipline.

“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.”

However, the bank said the PSRP intervention is helping to change the narrative. It approved $1.25bn between June 2020 and February 2021 to reset the power sector.

The bank also said to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, Nigeria would need to connect over 1 million households yearly while devising means to ensure consumers pay for the electricity consumed.

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