Energy infrastructure weakness

Diesel-generator backup systems are prevalent in the developing world, with high — cost, high-polluting fuel. Insufficient grid power leads to extra capital stress on private firms and families who can invest in backup generators, in order to maintain operations during routine brownouts and blackouts.

Average figures from enterprise surveys in (admittedly vast) ranges of countries in the Latin American-Caribbean region and Sub-Saharan African region show that percentages of manufacturing firms identifying electricity as a major constraint were, respectively, 37.6% and 50.3% (World Bank Enterprise Survey, 2012). From the perspective of domestic electricity users, the most vocal figures might be the average number of electrical outages in a typical month (3.7 in the Latin American — Caribbean region and 10.7 in the Sub-Saharan African region) and the duration of a typical electrical outage (2.1 hours and 6.6 hours, respectively).

This results in significant generator use for business, with 28.1% of Latin American — Caribbean firms owning a generator and 43.6% of Sub-Saharan African firms owning a generator — with concomitant fuel and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs (World Bank Enterprise Survey, 2012). State electricity firms also commonly resort to mobile generators for emergency power (New York Times, 2013).

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