In 2009, an estimated 585 million people had no access to electricity in sub‐Saharan Africa. Unlike many other regions of the world, under current assumptions, that figure is expected to rise significantly by 2030 to about 652 million – an unsustainable and unacceptable situation.

National governments and regional organisations have identified the urgent need for accelerated electrification rates.

Responding to this need will require innovative and effective energy policies.

The way future power systems are planned, designed, constructed, financed and operated will have a significant impact on how effectively these aspirations are delivered.

Some of the well‐known and emerging concepts, systems and technologies of Smart Grids may offer an important contribution to universal access to electricity in sub‐Saharan Africa.

We argue that these Smart Grid advances may enable sub‐Saharan African countries to leapfrog elements of traditional power systems in terms of both technology and regulation.

This could accelerate national and regional electrification timeframes, improving service delivery, minimizing costs and reducing environmental impact.

Read the full white paper here.