Supporting World Development

A basic commodity that Americans often take for granted is sadly lacking across wide portions of the world.

Global electrification reached 89 percent in 2018, a modest improvement since 2012.

According to the International Energy Agency, in 2018 the number of people without electricity access across the globe dropped to 860 million. However, progress remains uneven, with 80% of the 800 million people who have gained access since 2010 concentrated in Asia. Almost 1 billion people have gained access to electricity in developing Asia since 2000, nearly two-thirds of them in India.


In Africa the number of people gaining access to electricity doubled from 9 million a year between 2000 and 2013 to 20 million people between 2014 and 2018, outpacing population growth. As a result, the number of people without access to electricity decreased to around 595 million in 2018. Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania accounted for more than 50% of those gaining access. However, sub-Saharan Africa’s electrification rate remains comparatively low, at 45 percent. Two-thirds of the global total without access to electricity, or 600 million people, live in this region.

The benefits of greater electricity availability are dramatic and undeniable. As the repository of the world’s largest economically recoverable coal reserves, the United States has an important role to play in continuing the advancement of human living conditions around the world.

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Fast Fact

11 percent of global population lack access to electricity despite modest improvements.

Coal supplies a third of all energy used worldwide and makes up 40% of electricity generation, as well as playing a crucial role in industries such as iron and steel.