One in five people, roughly 1.3 billion globally, do not have access to electricity that would improve health and education while decreasing poverty. In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of individuals lacking electricity rises to seven out of 10.

Right now, 225 million people in sub-Saharan Africa rely on health facilities that have no electricity, and 90 million children in the region have no electricity at school. Energy poverty prevents local businesses from prospering and students from succeeding in their studies.

Providing access to electricity will allow hospitals to keep life-saving refrigerated vaccines on hand, allow students and entrepreneurs to continue their work after dark and ensure that families do not need to rely on dangerous and costly kerosene powered lamps.

But what is the best way to deliver electricity to the parts of the world that are lacking?

Aside from the obvious benefits of expanding clean energy initiatives, solar energy has shown great promise in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Bangladesh is quickly becoming one of the world’s fastest growing clean energy employers by investing in solar energy. Over the last 10 years, the number of solar power systems in Bangladesh has increased from 25,000 to 2.8 million, creating 114,000 jobs in the field. This is on par with many developed countries in the European Union.

Solar power has not been widely implemented until recently due to the high up-front cost of panels and batteries. Additionally, little public funding to assistance programs is allocated to energy access. The private sector has stepped in to fill this gap, and many start-up businesses and entrepreneurs are making clean energy more accessible and creating more jobs in the areas they serve.

Read more at the Borgen Project