Two weeks ago (9/14) the Wall Street Journal had a special supplement section on energy. One of their Africa correspondents, Drew Hinshaw, wrote from Ghana about his family's problems getting electricity from the grid there, especially now that he has an infant son -- the power is unreliable, with frequent daylong outages.
600 million Africas, he wrote, more than half the continent's population, are not connected to a power line. Those that are often have intermittent and unreliable service.
So Hinshaw put in rooftop solar where he lives, spending $3000 for two solar panels and lead-acid batteries that meet his family's basic requirements -- a refrigerator, fans, laptop, and modem.
His article. titled "So Much Sun, So Little Electricity," was accompanied with some data, which I've converted to the graphical form below. It shows, it seems to me, that the future prosperity of African societies will not come only from a vast fossil fuel infrastructure like the developed countries have, but will instead include a large amount from active individual and local efforts to utilize the the continent's most easily accessible resource.