World Bank in global electricity call
"Countries that are closing the access gap quickly will see improvements in education, health, jobs and economic growth."
Global efforts to provide universal access to electricity, develop more renewable energy sources and increase efficiency are not on track to meet a target date of 2030, the World Bank has said.
With fewer people receiving electricity for the first time in recent years, only 92 percent of the world's population will have access to power by 2030, the bank said in a new report published together with the International Energy Agency.
Universal access by the target date would require a five-fold increase in investment rates, it estimates.
Some 1.06 billion people lacked electricity in 2014, "only a slight improvement since 2012," the report said.
"If we're to make access to clean, affordable and reliable energy a reality, action must be driven through political leadership," Rachel Kyte, special representative to the UN secretary general for sustainable energy, said in a statement.
"This new data is a warning for world leaders to take more focused, urgent action on access to energy and clean cooking, improving efficiency and use of renewables to meet our goals," she added.
Riccardo Puliti, head of energy and extractives at the World Bank, said the effort requires "increased financing, bolder policy commitments and a willingness to embrace new technologies on a wider scale."
The report noted some positive developments, however.
Among them, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and several African countries including Rwanda and Sudan have made "rapid progress," it said.
"Countries that are closing the access gap quickly will see improvements in education, health, jobs and economic growth," it added.
Reaching targets for boosting sustainable energy would require two to three times more investment than current levels, while meeting goals for energy efficiency would need three to six times more investment.
Although renewable energy production is rapidly growing, wind and solar energy currently account for only 4 percent of consumption worldwide.