$48 Billion Needed to End Energy Poverty

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 11, 2011

A $48 billion investment is needed to end energy poverty, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Ending energy poverty would give more than one billion in poor countries worldwide access to electricity. If investors can provide the needed funds, the IEA says poor countries would have electricity within the  next 20 years.

Allowing poor countries access to power will provide gains in health, education and economic growth.

According to The Guardian, about 2.7 billion people do not even have access to a clean cooking facility, which causes 1.5 million deaths every year because of respiratory disease.

The U.N. is in full support of ending energy poverty and the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, announced on Monday that universal access to electricity is needed by 2030. Ki-moon added that lack of energy in parts of the world poses a threat to economic growth and job creation.

The U.N. also is encouraging governments to work towards more use of renewable energy in hopes its use can be doubled in 20 years.

“Such actions could help to revitalize the global economy (and) combat climate change,” Ki-moon said at an energy conference in Oslo, hosted by the Norwegian government and the International Energy Agency, IEA.

Current energy use is extremely unequal. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that 791 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, use about as much energy as 19.5 million people in New York State, according to IEA Chief Economist Faith Birol.

In 2009 the IEA said that 84 percent of Kenya’s population that totals 33 million did not have access to electricity, and 83 percent of Kenyans relied on wood for cooking.

“Lacking access to electricity affects health, well-being and income,” said Birol. “It’s a problem the world has to pay attention to.”

The IEA calculate sthat $18 billion of the money needed could come from development sources, $15 billion from governments of developing countries and $15 billion from the private sector.

$48 billion may be a large some of money, but it’s only about three percent of worldwide investment needed in the energy sector.

Ending energy poverty is one of the best ways for poor countries to climb out of economic poverty.

That’s all for now,


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