Access to energy must be expanded for LDCs to escape poverty trap: UN report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-23 02:34:38|Editor: yan
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GENEVA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Expanding access to adequate, reliable and affordable sources of modern energy is essential if the world's poorest nations are to escape the poverty trap, a United Nations report said Wednesday.

The Least Developed Countries Report 2017: Transformational Energy Access said the development gap between the world's 47 least developed countries (LDCs) and the rest of the developing world threatens to widen.

The report, released by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said that in the LDCs, 577 million people, or 62 percent of their populations, do not have access to electricity.

And of people worldwide without access to electricity, 54 percent live in LDCs, a share that has almost doubled since 1990.

The report notes that while LDCs have made great strides in recent years, achieving the global goal of universal access to energy by 2030 will require a massive increase in their annual rate of electrification.

"Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 is not only a question of satisfying households' basic energy needs," said UNCTAD secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi.

"We need to go beyond. For electrification to transform LDC economies, modern energy provision needs to spur productivity increases and unlock more goods and services," he said.

Kituyi noted that the productive use of energy is what turns access into economic development and what ensures that investments in electricity infrastructure are economically viable.

The UNCTAD report delves into possible methods of financing this transformational shift, the role that renewable energy sources can play, and the responsibilities that the international community has toward boosting access to energy in the LDCs.

The report says that renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, could have a revolutionary effect in rural areas, home to 82 percent of those without power in LDCs, and help overcome the historical obstacles to rural electrification.