Saturday, January 22, 2011

Understanding Electricity in Uganda

In order to comprehend the severity of the energy crisis in Uganda, you must compare its electricity consumption to other countries. This is where the interactive graph, which can be found in the previous post and on the website’s homepage, comes in use. First, what do you think about telling everyone in America that you can only have access to the electricity equivalent of one incandescent light bulb (60 Watts). This is still 2000% (or 20 times) more than what people in Uganda have access to: 3 Watts/Person.

Over the next two blogs, we will compare Uganda’s rank in major statistical categories with three of the largest nations in the world: India, China, and the U.S. The category which best reflects the development of a nation is the average power consumed per household, given in Watts per capita. Choosing the bar graph view on the graph, we see that in 1980 the average power consumed per capita for these nations is:

Uganda: 3

U.S.: 1050

India: 16

China: 30

At this point in time, only a handful of countries consume more electricity per household than the U.S., while India, China, and Uganda are in the bottom half of this category. Uganda, specifically, dwells at the bottom of this spectrum, consuming less than 3 Watts per household. By pressing the play button in the bottom left corner of the graph, you can see the progression of each country in the statistical category you choose from 1980 to 2006. In 2006, the average power consumed per capita for the four countries is:

Uganda: 5

U.S.: 1460

India: 55

China: 220

It is clearly visible that so-called ‘undeveloped’ countries such as India and China are, over time, increasing power consumption per household. This is significant as there is a correlation between electricity and development. China and India have grown to become modern-day superpowers, and it comes as no surprise that they have also been able to make strides when it comes to consumption of electricity. Uganda has not been able to emulate this growth, and it is from studying nations such as India, China, and the U.S. that we have agreed with the conjecture that increasing energy sustainability in Uganda will strongly increase its human development.

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