Report: World Not on Track to Achieve SDG7 Goal by 2030

*Says largest unserved populations are in Nigeria
Dike Onwuamaeze

The World Bank has revealed that the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) goals might not be realised by 2030 even though governments all over the world mobilised an unprecedented level of fiscal support of $710 billion to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in areas relevant to SDG 7.  

The SDG 7 is targeted at universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services.
The World Bank stated this yesterday in the 2022 edition of “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2022,” which assessed achievements in the global quest for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030.

It stated in the joint report of the custodian agencies that “at today’s rate of progress, the world is still not on track to achieve the SDG 7 goals by 2030.
“This edition was prepared as the COVID-19 pandemic and its broad social and economic disruptions entered their third year. Some degree of economic recovery has taken place, but the pace of progress on the SDG 7 target is expected to slow down because of new challenges from evolving COVID variants and an energy crisis provoked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

The custodian agencies that jointly prepared the report were the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the United Nations Statistics Division, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation.

The report also showed that Sub-Saharan Africa remained the least electrified region in the world. It stated that “among people without access to electricity, 77 percent—about 568 million people—lived in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.”
The report, however, said that “electricity access in that region rose from 46 per cent in 2018 to 48 per cent in 2020, an annual growth rate of one percentage point.”

It added that most of the top 20 countries with lowest acces to electricity were in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The largest unserved populations are in Nigeria with 92 million people); the Democratic Republic of Congo with 72 million, and Ethiopia with 56 million,” the report said, adding that while “access growth outpaced population growth in Ethiopia between 2010 and 2020; it did not do so in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where electrification failed to keep pace with population growth.

“In contrast, Kenya and Uganda made the fastest progress in electrification among the top 20, with annualized increases of more than 3.0 percentage points between 2010 and 2020.”  

The report also noted that globally, the share of the world’s population with access to electricity rose from 83 percent in 2010 to 91 percent in 2020, an increase of approximately 1.3 billion people globally.
It also said that the number of people without access to electricity dropped from 1.2 billion people in 2010 to 733 million in 2020.
The report stated that the pace of progress in electrification has slowed in recent years because of the increasing complexity of reaching more remote and poorer unserved populations and the expected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said: “Between 2010 and 2018, an average of 130 million people gained access to electricity each year. That figure fell to 109 million between 2018 and 2020. The annual rate of increase was 0.8 percentage points between 2010 and 2018. It shrank to just 0.5 percentage points in 2018–20.

“Even so, the increase in electrification outpaced population growth at a global scale. The COVID-19 crisis has also increased concerns about the affordability of electricity. Under its weight, 90 million in Africa and developing countries in Asia lost the ability to afford an extended bundle of energy services in 2020.”

The report, however, acknowledged that “from the outset of the pandemic, governments mobilised an unprecedented level of fiscal support to manage the impacts of the pandemic on citizens and the global economy. Appropriations of recovery funds in areas relevant to SDG 7 reached $710 billion, but 90 percent of that came in the advanced economies.

“Emerging markets and developing countries, with their much more limited fiscal leeway, mobilised far less. Increasing clean energy and access investments in these regions requires greater support from international actors.”

It said that with oil and gas prices spiking in 2021, aggravated by the war in Ukraine, recovery plans in key economies focused heavily on renewables and efficiency, making the outlook for renewables and energy efficiency stronger than it was a year ago.

“The rising uncertainty in global oil and gas markets has placed enormous pressure on net importers to reduce their exposure. How the world gets on track toward meeting SDG 7 depends in part on how governments respond to the economic crisis and the role of recovery packages in shaping a more sustainable future.

“Although renewable energy demonstrated remarkable resilience during the pandemic, the pace of electrification slowed in recent years. In addition, the pandemic’s impact on household incomes made basic energy services unaffordable for around 90 million people in Asia and Africa who had previously enjoyed access.

“The COVID-19 crisis and another year of extreme weather events and climate change were projected to exacerbate the stark worldwide inequalities in access to reliable energy and health care, especially in rural and urban areas, and highlighted the importance of expanding access to clean, efficient energy to help populations mitigate the effects of both the health and environmental crises.”

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