Photo: Standard Microgrid

First Annual Energy Access Jobs Census Released, Showing Large Employment Opportunity

Decentralized renewables have the potential to create up to 52,000 direct, formal and 24,000 informal jobs in Nigeria by 2022-23


ABUJA, July 15, 2019 -- Today, the first annual jobs census measuring employment from decentralized renewables for rural electrification in Nigeria, Powering Jobs Census 2019: The Energy Access Workforce, was released by Power for All. The census aims to spotlight the energy skills and jobs needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 ─ access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. 

Supported by Schneider Electric Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation and timed to the United Nations review this year of SDG 8, or Decent Work, the census provides the most comprehensive data on energy access jobs created by decentralized renewable energy (DRE), including solar for home and business, green mini-grids and productive use systems such as solar water pumps.

The Nigeria census, for which the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) and the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center (NCIC) were in-country research partners, received responses from 50 companies in Nigeria across the DRE sector, including many major companies in the sector representing a large market share. 

“Access to electricity means access to jobs,” said Power for All Chief Research Officer and census lead researcher Dr. Rebekah Shirley. “The Powering Jobs census offers strong evidence of the important link between energy access and employment in countries where rural joblessness is at record highs. Policy-makers, donors and the private sector have an opportunity to increase support for decentralized renewables and build a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce for the energy infrastructure of the future.” 

The Federal Government’s Vision 30:30:30, which aims to achieve a power generation goal of 30 GW with a renewable energy mix of 30% by 2030, and the Rural Electrification Goal, which  aims to provide reliable power to 75% and 90% of the population by 2020 and 2030 respectively through the expansion of DRE technologies, has created a large market potential for DRE in Nigeria, requiring a local workforce to sustain it. 

Overall employment data suggests that women and youth are the hardest impacted by the dearth of employment opportunities, particularly those in rural communities. According to the International Labour Organization, young men and women between the ages of 15 to 24 comprise 23 percent of the working-age population in Nigeria. Employment for women and especially rural women is critical in Nigeria as women are 26 per cent of those unemployed nationally.

According to the census findings, decentralized renewables are: 

● A significant employer: relative to its penetration level in the market, the decentralized renewables sector has already grown an impressive direct employee base. Nigeria survey results show that the country’s DRE direct, formal workforce may grow 13 times between 2017-18 and 2022-23 if the mini-grid market continues to expand at a rapid pace. In 2017-18, the DRE sector provided about 4,000 jobs (compared to the gas, electricity and air conditioning sector, which employed about 10,000 in the same year), most of which are from standalone and grid-tied commercial and industrial (C&I) projects. With a clear target of 10,000 mini-grids by 2023 set by the Rural Electrification Agency, mini-grids could grow to become an important employer. In such a scenario, the DRE workforce will provide more than 52,000 direct formal jobs by 2022-23, a growth of 13x multiple. The DRE sector has a significant employment impact on the informal sector as well. In 2017-18, the sector provided about 9,000 informal jobs. The number of informal jobs would more than double in the next five years, reaching 24,000 informal jobs by 2022-23. 

● A jobs multiplier: in addition to direct, formal employment, the sector also accounts for up to 3–4 times as many jobs created through the productive use of energy particularly in rural and peri-urban communities being electrified for the first time. Currently, the DRE sector in Nigeria has created 15,000 productive use jobs, and that is expected to grow as the mini-grid sector industry.

● Employing a highly-skilled, middle-income workforce: DRE companies delivering electricity access create skilled, middle-income jobs which also have longer employee retention than utility-scale power. 

● Achieving gender balance: In Nigeria, the census showed that end-user product companies selling pico-solar appliances, SHS and other small off-grid appliances directly to end-user customers engage far more women through both formal and informal work, with 52 percent of formal workers and 44 percent of the informal workers serving the sector being women, often as sales agents.  

● Employing a large number of youth: DRE sector creates an opportunity for youth engagement, which will be an important response to the growing challenge of youth unemployment in many emerging economies. In Nigeria, the sector has strong participation from youth, comprising 42 percent of the end-user product provider workforce.

● Experiencing major skill gaps: there is a growing shortage of job-ready talent to finance, develop, install, operate and market the sector. Management skills, in particular, represent a critical gap for unlocking further sectoral growth. In Nigeria, with the target of 10,000 mini-grids by 2023 as well as increasing investments and grant funding towards the target, skill demand may shift towards the operation and maintenance of the mini-grids. Management and business administration talents continue to be one of the most highly demanded skills now and in the future (24% of jobs in 2017–18, and 27% of jobs in 2022-23). Managerial skills are said to be one of the most difficult skills to recruit for, partly due to the lack of talent pool and partly due to the competition of talents from other sectors.

“Creating jobs in the green economy is data-driven and the Powering Jobs project is critical to the creation of jobs for the future. The increase in private sector players in the clean energy space shows the viability of that sector, with the innovative use of clean energy, comes the creation of jobs,” said Bankole Oloruntoba, Executive Director, NCIC. 

“With the exciting developments in a fast-evolving renewable energy sector, our optimism is high that it will lead to increased energy security and revitalized economy,” said Lande Abudu, the Executive Secretary of REAN. “We at the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria are proud to be associated with the Powering Jobs campaign. The potential for direct and supply chain jobs is huge. Efforts must be deliberate in identifying and honing the skills needed to drive the RE sector. By synchronizing our efforts, we can ensure that the jobs projection in the RE sector will be realized. Not only will this be bridging a much-needed gap, but there is also a chance to address specific challenges such as the underrepresentation of women in the energy sector.”

The first edition of Power for All’s job census surveyed three countries, India, Kenya, and Nigeria, and will expand data collection to 25 countries by 2021.

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About Power for All

Power for All is a multi-stakeholder coalition campaigning to rapidly scale the deployment of decentralized renewable energy in order to achieve universal electricity access before 2030. Decentralized renewables -- including green mini-grids and solar systems designed for households, businesses and productive use appliances -- offer the fastest, most affordable and cleanest path to electricity access for all. Power for All brings together more than 250 business, finance, research and civil society organizations To learn more visit

About Schneider Electric Foundation

In a world where social and environmental challenges are more widespread and more urgent than ever, the Schneider Electric Foundation supports innovative and forward-looking initiatives to give as many people as possible the energy they need to succeed. It is this pioneering spirit that the Schneider Electric Foundation is seeking to advance. We see our role as a catalyst for technological, social and entrepreneurial innovation helping to close the energy gap and striving for a more equitable energy transition around the world. Ever optimistic, the Schneider Electric Foundation's aim is to help build a fairer, lower-carbon society to give future generations the keys to transform our world. 

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, policy, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, the Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas and conversations. For more information, visit 


Media Contacts:

Mark Amaza, Power for All, mark(at), +234 8103216621

Veronique Moine, Schneider Electric Foundation, +33 0141298769

Eric Gay, The Rockefeller Foundation, egay(at), +1 212 852 8378

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