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Key findings
  • Three-fourths (75%) of Nigerians live in households that are connected to the national power grid. Rural residents (60%), poor citizens (72%), and those with no formal schooling (37%) are far less likely to be connected to the national grid than urbanites (96%), economically well-off citizens (86%), and those with secondary or post-secondary education (84%-91%).
  • Among those who are connected to the grid, only 18% say their electricity works “most of the time” or “all of the time.”
  • Combining connection and reliability rates, we see that only 13% of all Nigerians enjoy a reliable supply of electricity from the national grid, down by 5 percentage points compared to 2017. Only 11% of rural residents and 9% of citizens experiencing high lived poverty report a reliable electricity supply.
  • Eight in 10 citizens (80%) say the government is doing a poor job of providing a reliable supply of electricity, up by 6 percentage points from 2020. This assessment is particularly widespread among the poorest respondents (87%).

Given its vast and growing population and growing economy, Nigeria has an increasing  demand for electricity. The country’s energy sector has long failed to meet this demand due  to inadequate infrastructure, lack of investment, and inefficiencies in the generation,  transmission, and distribution of power, among other factors (Awosope, 2014). The World Bank  (2021) reports that 85 million Nigerians don’t have access to electricity from the national grid and that a lack of reliable power costs the country about 2% of its gross domestic product. 

Government efforts to address the country’s energy crisis have included the establishment of  the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in 2005 and the privatisation of power  generation and distribution companies beginning in 2013, but critics say these measures have  done little to alleviate shortfalls throughout the sector (Nnodim, 2023). 

The government’s current Energy Transition Plan aims to “bring modern energy services to the  full population” by 2060 (Government of Nigeria, 2022). The World Bank’s (2023) Distributed  Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project is intended to enhance  electricity access for more than 17.5 million Nigerians via renewable energy solutions. 

Findings from the latest Afrobarometer survey show that while a majority of Nigerians are  connected to the national electric grid, only a small minority enjoy a reliable supply of  electricity, especially in rural areas and poor communities. Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority of respondents give negative ratings to the government’s efforts to provide electricity. 

Maame Akua Amoah Twum

Maame is the communications coordinator for North and Anglophone West Africa at Afrobarometer

Eric Otu Beecham

Eric Otu Beecham is a monitoring, evaluation, and learning assistant for Afrobarometer.