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The Least Developed Countries Report 2017: Transformational Energy Access

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November 2017

[From the UNCTAD press release]:

​Expanding access to adequate, reliable and affordable sources of modern energy is essential if the world’s poorest nations are to escape the poverty trap. The world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs) are falling far behind the rest of the developing world in terms of getting power to homes and businesses. While they have made great strides in recent years, achieving the global goal of universal access to energy by 2030 will require a 350 percent increase in their annual rate of electrification.

This two-way relationship between the productive use of energy and economic development, which the report dubs “the energy-transformation nexus,” remains very weak in LDCs. More than 40 percent of businesses operating in these countries are held back by inadequate, unreliable, and unaffordable electricity. On average, they suffer 10 power outages per month, each lasting around five hours, and this costs them 7 percent of the value of their sales. While on average 10 percent of people in other developing countries lack access to electricity, this remains the case for more than 60 per cent of the population in LDCs. And LDCs as a group have around just 8 percent the capacity of other developing economies to generate electricity per person, and barely 2 percent that of wealthier nations.


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