SEforALL Analysis of SDG7 Progress - 2020

Data and evidence

Utilizing the latest data from the Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2020, SEforALL has conducted deep dive analysis to provide a snapshot of the world’s current situation across the four targets of SDG7: electricity access (7.1.1), clean cooking access (7.1.2), renewable energy (7.2) and energy efficiency (7.3). This analysis builds on the Tracking SDG7 Report with an additional perspective on regions and high-impact countries. The detailed analysis is available for download here.

Overall progress

We are lagging behind in providing access to electricity and clean cooking, and much more needs to be done for increasing efficiency and renewable energy consumption.


Since 2010, progress has been made towards universal electricity access (7.1.1), but mainly driven by significant gains in India and Bangladesh.

Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking (7.1.2) has been stagnant and based on current trends is to remain so.

While the overall share of renewable energy (7.2) has been increasing, as the share of traditional biomass decreases the share of modern renewables must expand more quickly.

Overall energy intensity (7.3) has improved but the rate of improvement has slowed in recent years, and is far from the 3 percent rate of annual improvement needed each year.

Access to electricity

While significant progress has been made since 2010, there are still 789 million people without access to electricity, with 72 percent  of them in Africa and 27percent in Asia.

80 percent of the unconnected people live in just 22 countries, 16 in Africa and the remaining 6 in Asia.

91 percent of the improvement has been driven by significant gains in Asia, particularly in India and Bangladesh.

While there have been improvements in the electrification rate in Africa, increasing from 44 percent  in 2010 to 56 percent  in 2018, this hasn’t been enough to match the population growth, resulting in the number of Africans lacking access to electricity effectively remaining constant.

Projections show that we are not on track to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, with between 620 and 690 million people expected to remain unelectrified.

There are ~789 million people in the world without access to electricity

22 countries make up 80% of the electrification challenge

Total number of unelectrified people has declined from 1,150 million in 2010 to ~789 million in 2018, however Africa remaining stagnant

Almost every Asian country has made progress since 2010

Reduction in unelectrified population between 2010 and 2018, millions

The majority of the improvement in Asia is seen in India and Bangladesh.

The majority of the African countries in the top 22 countries have only shown moderate improvement in the electricity access rate since 2010. Population growth has resulted in an unelectrified population of 550-600 million people.

Kenya has made significant progress in increasing the electrification rate of the country with Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and Zambia also showing substantial improvement.

USD 36 billion committed in 2017 for access to electricity in 20 high-impact countries

According to Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2019, only one-third of this finance, or USD 12.6 billion, is estimated to have provided residential access.

Sub-Saharan Africa is getting left behind. Four of the 13 Sub-Saharan African countries tracked reported an absolute decline in finance committed relative to 2016, and ten of the 13 each received less than USD 300 million in 2017.

Access to clean cooking

There are currently 2.8 billion people without access to clean fuels and technology for cooking, with 64 percent of them in Asia and 32 percent in Africa. 80 percent of the people without access live in just 21 countries, 10 in Asia and the remaining 11 in Africa.

Moderate improvements have been made in Asia with the number without access declining from 2.1 billion to 1.8 billion people.

The situation is dire in Africa as only 2 of the 11 African countries (Ghana and Sudan) have access rates over 10 percent.

Since 2010, the number of people without access in Africa has actually increased from ~750 million to ~900 million people.

Projections show that we are not on track to achieve universal access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking by 2030, with between 2.3 and 2.9 billion people expected to remain without access.

There are ~2.8 billion people in the world without access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking

21 countries make over 80% of the access to clean cooking challenge

Most Asian and African countries have suffered declines between 2010 and 2018

Reduction in population without access to clean cooking between 2010 and 2018, millions

Four Asian countries significantly improved their clean cooking access rates (>15p.p.) between 2010 and 2018: Indonesia, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Four others still have significant populations (>100 million) without access to clean cooking: Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan.

Only one African country significantly improved its clean cooking access rate (>15p.p.) between 2010 and 2018: Sudan.
Two others still have significant populations (>100 million) without access to clean cooking: Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Share of renewables

The current share of renewables, including the use of traditional biomass, in total energy consumption is 17.3 percent.

The current share of modern renewables in total energy consumption is 10.5 percent.

Africa has the highest share of renewables overall at 54.4 percent, but this only includes 1.8 percent modern renewables.  

North America and Europe has the least share of renewables at 12.5 percent but with 7.8 percent modern renewables.

Based on current trends, we expect to see only moderate gains in the share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030 but the share modern renewables for electricity, heat and the transport must accelerate.

As of 2017 the share of renewables in energy consumption is 17.3% 

NOTE: We use solid biofuels instead of traditional uses of biomass. Although “traditional uses of biomass” refers to the residential consumption of primary solid biofuels and charcoal in non-OECD countries, the current dataset does not distinguish such usage. Hence we only distinguish solid biofuel share in final energy consumption.  

Countries with the highest energy consumption and their share of renewables

Rate of improvement in energy efficiency

Based on current trends, an energy intensity improvement rate of at least 3 percent per year from now through to 2030 will be necessary to achieve SDG 7.3.

Since peaking at a 3 percent rate of improvement in 2015, the latest data continues to show a slowdown in the rate of improvement, with an average rate of improvement of 2.2% in 2017.

Slow progress on energy efficiency is undermining efforts towards SDG7 targets and reduction of carbon emissions needed under the Paris Agreement.

To ensure we get on track, consumers will need to be incentivized to be more energy efficient and we will need to explore ways for industry to increase its energy efficiency.

Since peaking at a 3 percent rate of improvement in 2015, the latest data shows a continuing decline in the pace of progress on energy efficiency.

Energy intensity improvement rate of at least 3 percent annually will be needed to achieve SDG 7.3

Countries with the highest energy consumption and energy intensity

High-impact countries for clean cooking access: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Korea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Viet Nam (SEforALL 2019. Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape).

Top 20 access-deficit countries are the 20 countries with the highest access-deficit population: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Viet Nam (IEA, IRENA, UNSD, World Bank, WHO. 2020. Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report).