Nigeria is arguably the most prosperous Black nation in the world, the most populous country and the largest economy in Africa. In recent times, the country has also emerged as the preferred destination for venture capitalists in Africa.
However, insecurity and poor access to electricity have lowered the country’s standing among the comity of nations. Access to electricity has deteriorated so badly in the West African nation to the extent that it now has the largest unelectrified people globally.
The Democratic Republic of Congo for many years had occupied the position as the country in the world with the most people without access to electricity. Nigeria, home to the richest Black man on earth, has overtaken Congo in this race to the bottom.
Nigeria is officially the country with the highest number of people without access to electricity despite being the biggest economy in Africa. This was revealed by the World Bank Group (WBG) officials during a virtual engagement with power reporters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), according to the Daily Trust newspaper.
“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,” the Nigerian newspaper quoted a presentation from the Group.
The presentation, made by WBG Practice Manager, West, and Central Africa Energy, Ashish Khanna, noted that access to electricity in Nigeria has since 2010 grown by only 1.1% as compared to the nation’s annual population growth of 3.3%. This means that some 3 to 57 million Nigerians do not have access to electricity.
“Nigeria now has 25% more unelectrified people than the 2nd most unelectrified country (DRC – in absolute terms). For the bottom, 40% of the population (mostly rural), access to grid electricity is even lower at about 31% nationwide. Regionally, only south-west has access of over 50% (except Kano),” Khanna said.
The WGB said Nigeria’s power sector is operationally inefficient with unrealizable power supply as well as high losses and payment indiscipline. “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,” WBG said.
The group also noted that 80% of households connected to the national grid have six or fewer hours of electricity per day while 40% of those who have access to power rely on off-grid means like generators and solar power plants.
Nigeria is endowed with oil, gas, hydro, and solar sources and has the potential to generate 12,522 MW of electric power from existing plants. However, it is only able to dispatch around 4,000 MW, which is insufficient for a country of over 195 million people, according to USAID.