Power Outages in Africa – An Assessment based on Regional Power Pools
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Africa continues to take significant strides towards power sector transformation and growth. New power plants are being constructed and electricity consumption continues to improve every year. However, amidst all these developments, crucial challenges remain. Africa, and sub-Sahara Africa in particular, has the lowest electricity access rate of any region in the world. For the small percentage of the population that has access to electricity, the quality of supply is very low. Power outages are frequent, long and widespread and have socio-economic ramifications. Yet, the extent of this power outage problem in Africa is not well documented. A few studies on this subject mainly investigate the economic impacts of outages while relying on a few case study countries. A comprehensive and accurate representation of the power outage situation in Africa is clearly missing. This study adopts a regional approach based on regional power pools to assess outage experiences, impacts and responses for the entire African continent. The study utilises freely available, country-level data from the World Bank to compute regional averages. The results reveal significant regional variations for all the parameters.