Africa–Off-Grid Energy Access Mapping in Sub-Saharan Africa

Client: World Bank

Duration: 2017-2017

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Regional

Solutions: Sustainable Business

With more than one billion people around the world living without reliable and affordable electricity, an increasing number of off-grid energy technologies and business models are emerging in an effort to close this global energy access gap. While companies offering off-grid solutions are interested in the world’s most under-electrified areas, they often lack the critical information on market potential, electrical infrastructure, socioeconomic contexts, and energy demand required to make prudent investment decisions.

The Sustainable Business Group designed a methodology to help the World Bank and International Finance Corporation provide investors with the data necessary to better understand the market for off-grid energy, and made that data accessible through a web-based, geo-analytical application. The resulting Off-Grid Market Opportunity Tool, built by project partner Development Seed, maps potential hot spots for investment across Sub-Saharan Africa, with additional in-depth, highly localized data for Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia.


Select Results

  • Leveraged our experience assessing consumers’ electricity access and ability to pay for electricity services to develop a data framework for characterizing off-grid markets based on demographics, energy access, energy demand, financing and payments, productive uses, land use, and renewable potential.
  • Utilized open source data sets to advise on strategies for identifying areas without electrical grid service and calculating basic energy expenditure at a subnational level.
  • Combined datasets with solar irradiance data to provide investors with a decision-making tool to analyze and visualize market potential throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.


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