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LET'S TALK DATA | Tracking energy poverty with high resolution satellite imagery: New data and tools

July 11, 2024
World Bank HQ & Webex

Event description

1.18 billion people live in areas so dark that they are invisible to satellites. Join this seminar to learn how high-resolution satellite data can help reduce energy poverty across the globe.

Experts from the World Bank, UNDP, and University of Michigan will discuss their recent research, which provides the first computational classifications of energy poverty across the developing world, combining high-resolution nighttime and daytime satellite imagery. 

Evaluating light output signatures across up to 3,000 nights over all human settlements in the developing world, they have also found that over 657 million people are energy poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and 447 million who do not use electricity despite being electrified.

Go behind these striking numbers with the experts and learn more about the multi-agency research, delve into the databases underlying the study, and explore how high-resolution data and the analyses they enable are key to progress on sustainable energy (SDG 7) and the broader 2030 Agenda.


Haishan Fu — Chief Statistician and Development Data Group Director, World Bank 
In her dual role, Haishan leads and coordinates the Bank’s development data agenda. A lifelong advocate for unlocking the power of data to improve lives, Haishan has been at the forefront of the global data discourse as a prominent thought leader, expert advisor, and academic and policy researcher for over three decades.

Opening Remarks

Riad Meddeb  Director, Energy Hub, UNDP
Riad provides expertise and guidance on policy and decision-making processes related to energy access and a just energy transition across 170 countries. Over the years, he has served in UNDP as Senior Principal Advisor on SIDS and Interim Director of the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development in Singapore. 


Benjamin P. Stewart  Senior Geographer, Geospatial Operational Support Team, World Bank 
His primary focus is the analysis of satellite imagery in various development projects, but he has lots of experience in various forms of geospatial analysis focusing on energy, urban, and transport. He holds a BSc in Biology and the History of Science from the University of King’s College, and a Masters of Geography from the University of Victoria.

Brian Min 
 Associate Professor of Political Science and Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan 
His research uses high resolution satellite imagery to study the politics of rural electrification across the developing world. He has collaborated closely with the World Bank to develop new methods using remote sensing and statistical algorithms to plan and monitor electrification projects in settings including India, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Pakistan, and Vietnam. His current research focuses on the political targeting of power outages using high frequency satellite data.

Babatunde Abidoye  Global Policy Advisor for the SDG Integration Team, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
He leads the integrated policy, data innovation and analytics portfolio, with his work focusing on providing integrated solutions to help countries accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. Babatunde has held positions in several universities and holds a PhD in Economics and Statistics from Iowa State University.

Event details

  • DATE: 10 a.m. ET, July 11, 2024
  • VIRTUAL LOCATION: Webex (no password needed)
  • PHYSICAL LOCATION: MC C2 350 (World Bank Staff only)