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Key findings
  • About three-quarters (76%) of Batswana live in zones served by the national electric grid. o Only 35% of rural residents are within reach of the grid, compared to 100% of urban residents. More educated and economically better-off citizens are also far more likely to live in zones served by the electric grid than those with less schooling and lower economic status.
  • More than six in 10 Batswana (64%) live in households that are connected to the national power grid.
  • Among those who are connected to the grid, 76% say their electricity works “most of the time” or “all of the time.”
  • Combining connection and reliability rates shows that half (49%) of all Batswana say they enjoy a reliable supply of electricity, including just 23% of rural residents and 32% of citizens experiencing high lived poverty.
  • Electricity ranks far down the list of most important problems that Batswana want their government to address, cited by just 1% of respondents as one of their top three priorities for government action.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of citizens say the government is doing a good job of providing a reliable supply of electricity, although this is down from 77% in 2019.

Botswana’s National Energy Policy (2021) is anchored in three principles: economic  development, equity, and environmental protection. In line with the trajectory of sustainable  development outlined in the Botswana Vision 2036 and the 11th National Development Plan,  the policy is expected to facilitate improved energy-sector governance to spur investment and growth (Government of Botswana, 2021). 

The government aims to achieve 100% energy access by 2030 (Energy Catalyst, 2020). The  country’s overall electrification rate is estimated at 65%, comprising 81% of the urban  population and 28% of the rural population (International Renewable Energy Agency,  2021a). 

Expanding energy access will be accompanied by a shift from coal-fired power generation  to renewable energy sources (World Bank, 2020). Coal is currently the main source of  electricity generation in Botswana (ISS African Futures and Innovation, 2023), but the  government plans to move toward a greener economy and has set ambitious targets to  generate 30% of its energy production from renewable sources by 2030, and 50% by 2036  (African Development Bank, 2023; International Trade Administration, 2024). 

Despite immense potential for renewables utilisation, most notably solar, wind, and  bioenergy, Botswana’s installed renewable energy capacity was only 6 megawatts at the  end of 2020, demonstrating that renewable energy penetration remains at very low levels (International Renewable Energy Agency, 2021b). Speaking on the sidelines of the recent  Global Citizen Now summit in New York, President Mokgweetsi Masisi reiterated his  government’s commitment to delivering an effective and efficient clean-energy  infrastructure (Molyneaux, 2024).  

A 2022 Afrobarometer survey provides an on-the-ground look at electricity access in  Botswana. Findings show that while about three-quarters of Batswana live in zones served by  the electric grid, only half enjoy a reliable supply of electricity, including roughly one-quarter  of rural residents. A majority of citizens say the government is doing a good job of providing  electricity, although this share is down compared to the previous Afrobarometer survey in  2019.  

Asafika Mpako

Asafika is the communications coordinator for Southern Africa

Stephen Ndoma

Stephen is the assistant project manager for Southern Africa