Supporting World Development

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

Global electrification reached 90 percent in 2020, a modest improvement since 2012.

According to the International Energy Agency, in 2021 the number of people without electricity access across the globe dropped to 770 million. However, progress remains uneven, with most of the people who have gained access since 2010 concentrated in Asia. Almost 1.2 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 tripled from 8 million a year between 2000 and 2013 to 24 million people between 2014 and 2019, outpacing population growth. As a result, the number of people without access to electricity decreased to around 572 million in 2019. Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania accounted for more than 50 percent of those gaining access. However, sub-Saharan Africa’s electrification rate remains comparatively low, at 40 percent. Two-thirds of the global total without access to electricity 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

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

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