World Bulletin / News Desk
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday.
Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said.
In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down.
More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of the global population, were at an advanced stage and progress was not limited to rich countries.
Yet the report showed "on the whole that African countries are scoring very poorly on the policy environment for energy access," said Vivien Foster, the World Bank's global lead for energy economics.
"As many as 40 percent of them are in the red zone, meaning they've barely begun to take policy measures to accelerate access to energy."
There were bright spots on the African continent, such as South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco, she noted.
UN member states in 2015 adopted a set of sustainable development goals to reach by 2030, including a guarantee of cheap, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all people.
The report, which will be updated every two years, said local authorities should use its findings to compare their policies to regional and global peers in efforts to meet the development goals.
Riccardo Puliti, head of the bank's energy and extractives global practice, told reporters the global lender currently had a $1.6 billion portfolio to support energy access that was mainly focused in Asia and Latin America.
"But we are moving very strongly in Africa as well," he said.
For the current fiscal year the bank had $260 million in new projects for off-grid power generation, in countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Niger and Zambia, he said.
CDC flu season update reveals season appears to have peaked in 13 states
High levels of the flu are widespread through nearly every state in the US
Study finds compound found in asparagus can help spread deadly type of breast cancer throughout the body
Cholera outbreak has killed 83 people in the country since last October
Brussels said it was running out of patience with states -- including the EU's three biggest economies -- that had failed to take steps to improve air quality despite years of warnings.
Consignment of assorted medical supplies airlifted to Lusaka
Here is a look back at the major oil spills around the world in the past five decades:
More than 100,000 people -- half of them children -- die every year due to waterborne diseases, experts say
Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt.
Seven firms to receive ecolabel certifying that their products are environment-friendly
Disasters saddle U.S. with $306 billion price tag, cause 362 deaths
Association for Prevention of Drug Abuse head says close to more than 2.5 million children are drug addicts in Bangladesh
King penguins are certainly accustomed to chilly weather, more so than species like the Humboldt that prefer somewhat warmer climes, said zoo curator Malu Celli.
Some eight million children and teenagers across the Southeast Asian nation will receive the shot to prevent further spread of the disease which is caused by a bacterial infection.
Two players vomited on the pitch, and play had to be halted briefly.