Number of Kenyans hooked to power grid up 56 per cent

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Access to electricity expanded by an average of 6.1 percentage points between 2010 and 2016, the third fastest growth rate in the world behind Kosovo and Afghanistan. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Access to electricity expanded by an average of 6.1 percentage points between 2010 and 2016, the third fastest growth rate in the world behind Kosovo and Afghanistan. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The number of Kenyan households connected to electricity increased from 36 per cent in 2014 to 56 per cent in 2016, the latest World Bank report shows.

The global lender says the country’s access to electricity expanded by an average of 6.1 percentage points between 2010 and 2016, the third fastest growth rate in the world behind Kosovo and Afghanistan.

State-run Kenya Power, however, said Tuesday the access rate stood at 73.42 per cent last month, which is still behind the global average of 87.35 per cent. 

The near-monopoly power distributor cited accelerated connection last year as a result of donor-supported electrification projects such as the African Development Bank-funded Last Mile Connectivity Project and the World Bank’s Global Partnership Output Based Aid (GPOBA) programme.

The Last Mile project focuses on households within a radius of 600 metres from a transformer, while GPOBA targets informal settlements in urban areas and low-income households in rural areas.

The World Bank has, however, raised eyebrows over contradictory data on electricity access in Kenya. The country had targeted universal access by 2020, ahead of 2030 set under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“Estimates for some countries in sub-Saharan Africa also differ significantly, especially for Kenya, which has also been making rapid progress but where there is divergence between different sources of data,” the report states.

“These discrepancies point to the need to invest in better data and statistics.”

Although Kenya is ahead of its peers in East Africa in electricity access, she trails her major investment competitors on the continent such as South Africa (84 per cent), Ghana (79 per cent) and Nigeria (59 per cent).

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