Comprehensive connectivity’s increasingly important for eHealth, and especially its mHealth component. For Africa, it’s a major requirement and a big constraint. Differences between Sub-Saharan (SSA) countries may be a good indication of readiness, or unreadiness. McKinsey, the global consultancy, has analysed these in its report Brighter Africa: The growth potential of the sub-Saharan electricity sector.
Its main finding’s that SSA’s starved for electricity. There are four main groups defined by percentages of people’s connections to electricity supplies; below 20%, 20% to 34%, 35% to 50% and above 50%. A summary is:
About half the SSA countries have a connection rate of less than 20%. Seven countries, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal and South Africa, have electricity access rates that exceed 50%. The average access rate to the electricity grid for the rest of SSA’s 20%.
These numbers are a snapshot. McKinsey says SSA’s starting to see momentum for change, mainly due to the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All programme. Success depends on countries investing rigorously in activities such as electricity supply and pricing. With these in place, SSA’s eHealth initiatives should have an improving operational context to expand from.