Kenya’s national electrification campaign is taking less than half the time it took America
In the 1930s, the US embarked on a campaign to connect rural parts of the country to electricity. It took more than two decades before 95% of all farms were electrified. Kenya is working on doing that in just seven years.
Kenya added 1.3 million households to its electricity grid last year, raising the percentage of connected Kenyans to 55%, from just 27% in 2013, when the country’s electrification campaign began in earnest. In another four years, Kenya plans to achieve “universal access” where 95% of homes will have access to electricity.
Development experts see access to electricity as important for improving everything from education and agricultural productivity to employment. Across the African continent, an estimated 600 million people, or 70% of the population, do not have access to electricity. Kenya would be among the first African countries to achieve universal access to electricity (after Algeria, Mauritius, and the Seychelles.)
If Kenya reaches universal access by 2020, it will have achieved in seven years a level of electrification that took the US a total of 33 years to reach, according to Todd Moss from the Center for Global Development. Electrification rates in Kenya are among the fastest in the region. It took Kenya about three years to get more than half of its population connected to the grid, a process that took the US eight years even at the height of its electrification campaign.
Kenya will first have to reach its goal of 6.5 million connected households by 2017. As of last month, 5.7 million households had been connected.READ MORE