Access to electricity remains a critical challenge in numerous African nations, posing significant hurdles to their development. Throughout the continent, a substantial portion of the population grapples with the absence of reliable electricity.

10 African countries with the largest population lacking electricity

Business Insider Africa has compiled a list of ten African countries with the largest populations lacking electricity, courtesy of Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report. The report reveals that over 600 million Africans currently lack access to energy, resulting in an electricity access rate of over 43 percent for African countries – the lowest globally, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The absence of electricity hampers households from engaging in essential activities, such as providing proper lighting for homes and streets. This impact extends beyond domestic settings, affecting every sector of the economy, including businesses, education, and healthcare.

Various factors contribute to the lack of electricity accessibility in many regions, including the high cost of electricity and infrastructure deficits. Despite Africa having relatively low electricity costs on a global scale, certain regions still experience high prices compared to household incomes. Business Insider Africa previously explored the African countries with the highest electricity costs in 2023 and how this can impede economic growth.

Another contributing factor is the prolonged failure of African leaders to adequately invest in their nations' electricity sectors, falling short in the crucial task of building the necessary capacity.

An energy progress report, a collaborative initiative by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and other partners, disclosed the African countries with the largest populations lacking access to electricity. The following are the top 10 African countries with the largest populations lacking electricity:

1. Nigeria: 86 million

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo: 76 million

3. Ethiopia: 55 million

4. United Republic of Tanzania: 36 million

5. Uganda: 25 million

6. Mozambique: 22 million

7. Niger: 21 million

8. Madagascar: 19 million

9. Burkina Faso: 18 million

10. Angola: 18 million