The economic toll from the Covid-19 pandemic has left more than 25 million people in Africa and Asia unable to afford electricity, threatening a global goal to provide power to everyone by 2030, international agencies warned on Monday.

Two-thirds of those affected were in sub-Saharan Africa, deepening disparities in the region’s access to electricity, according to an annual global report tracking progress on sustainable energy.

Millions struggled to pay for essential electricity services to power lighting, fans, televisions, and mobile phones as the Covid-19 crisis hit jobs and incomes in 2020, the report said.

This threatens progress in the last decade, which saw more than a billion people gaining access to electricity since 2010, making 90 percent of the world’s population connected in 2019.

But the pandemic has now put the UN-backed goal to ensure all have electricity by 2030 “in jeopardy”, with the number of people without power in Africa rising in 2020 after falling for the last six years, the report said.

“Access to electricity is critical to development, especially in the context of mitigating the impacts of Covid-19 and supporting human and economic recovery,” said Demetrios Papathanasiou, global director for energy and extractives at the World Bank.

Read the full article about electricity access in Africa and Asia at Eco-Business.