Energy access is the 'golden thread' that weaves together economic growth, human development, and environmental sustainability.1 Yet, the global community is still far from «ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.»2 Moreover, the service quality and reliability available to many of those who nominally have access is so poor that it does little to improve daily life and has negligible economic impact. Despite recent progress, the world is not on-track to achieving the goal of universal energy access-sustainable development goal 7 (SDG 7) in the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development-in electricity, with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at greatest risk of being left behind.3 The solutions to reach universal access must be commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge. In a few words: we must think big. Our mission is to achieve full electrification of entire provinces, countries, and even regions so that all citizens, public institutions, businesses, and industries have access to safe, secure, affordable, reliable, and adequate energy services. In financial terms, this means a substantial augmentation of public and, in most cases, private investment, with a focus on specific segments of the electrical supply chain. At $30.2 billion per year, current annual total global investment in electricity access falls far short of the estimated $52 billion needed annually to meet our universal access goal. Private investment in electricity access has increased considerably over the past few years: in 2015-2016, private investors provided the bulk of funding in the sector-60% of total commitments-for the first time. Yet this investment has been disproportionally in generation projects in a small number of countries. Transmission and distribution received less than 20% of total investment in the sector; SSA, which includes 15 countries in a ranking of the top 20 countries with access deficits, received just 15% of total financial flows. [...]
Funding entity: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).