Chad is a global outlier in terms of energy access. Despite the excellent solar resources, Chad has among the lowest electricity access rates in the world at 6.4 percent (against a Sub-Saharan Africa average of 48 percent). Lack of electricity undermines the prospects of economic development and lowers living standards. Many locations are also facing energy shortages with respect to fuel for cooking. This is particularly acute in the North-East region of Chad—an arid semidesert.
Electricity access is mostly limited to cities. The national power grid comprises city-based systems that are not interconnected, which has not supported electrification outside these cities and left most of the country without access to electricity. Therefore, there are significant disparities in electricity access between urban and rural areas (20 percent and less than 1 percent, respectively). Electricity access in locations without power grid is limited to a small number of customers, who can afford the prohibitively high cost of electricity from individual diesel generators that often exceed US$0.5 per kWh. The rest of the population—more than 90 percent of the people—face acute and chronic energy deprivation and are forced to use expensive and polluting solutions—candles, kerosene lamps and flashlights—to get some lighting as well as spend time and incure high costs when charging phones.