ISLAMABAD, Dec 3: About 1.3 billion people in the world are living without electricity; two-thirds of them being in 10 countries and four of them, including Pakistan, in the Asia Pacific region, says a report of the United Nations.
According to the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific-2013 released by a UN commission on Tuesday, an estimated 60 per cent of capacity-addition efforts in future will be focused on mini-grids and off-grid connections in which renewable energy sources will play a vital role.
In the generation of electricity from renewable sources, the Asian and Pacific region led the world in 2010. But this amounted to only 15.8 per cent of the region’s total electricity, which is below the world average of 19.4 per cent.
With less than 400 kilowatt-hours per capita, the annual household electricity consumption in the region is the second lowest among the world’s regions, after Africa where it is 200kwh.
About 2.6bn people in the world and 1.8bn in the region use solid fuels for cooking. The WHO estimates that more than 1.45 million people die prematurely each year from indoor air pollution caused by burning solid fuels with insufficient ventilation.
Women’s economic empowerment
The report says that despite its economic growth, the region lags behind in economic empowerment of women. It calls for targeted policy measures to facilitate women’s economic empowerment.
Women still bear the burden of unremunerated productive work, shouldering the major share of household management and care-giving responsibilities.
The report says that in Pakistan women spend 5.5 hours a day on housework and 1.2 hours on childcare whereas men spend 2.5 hours on housework and 0.9 hours on childcare.
It also says that women are overrepresented in sectors and positions that are vulnerable, poorly paid and less secure. For instance, 42 per cent of working women/girls belonged to agriculture sector in 2012 compared with 36.0 per cent of male workers.