Reliable electricity is essential for jobs and livelihoods. Just ask the butchers who work in the town of Mararaba, north central Nigeria.
They’ve been petitioning the government to connect their abattoir to the power grid. The community has drilled three boreholes, but electricity is needed to drive the pumps and ensure a steady supply of water. Without electricity, in other words, they can’t keep their abattoir clean.
The butchers also say they have no way of preserving the meat that isn’t sold on the market each day as they don’t have power for the necessary refrigeration facilities.
The plight of the Marabara butchers shows why a grid connection matters, and why small-scale solutions like off-grid solar can only help so much. In a busy abattoir, the fridges need to work 24/7, not just when the sun is shining.
Sadly though this story is not uncommon. 42.1 percent of businesses in the least developed countries currently cite electricity as major constraint on economic growth, according to recent UN research.
But it’s not acceptable. Sub-Saharan Africa needs to be creating millions of jobs each year to provide for its huge, young and growing population. Yet without a decent power infrastructure it’s not going to happen.
By helping developing countries access all their energy resources, we can build a more secure and prosperous world. If we fail, we risk a near future of conflict, social unrest and further mass-migration.