Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Lighting the Way Forward: Closing the Rural-Urban Electricity Gap with Strategic Government Policies

Lighting the Way Forward: Closing the Rural-Urban Electricity Gap with Strategic Government Policies

The Initial Divide (1994):

In 1994, Tunisia’s electrification landscape presented a striking contrast. Urban areas were almost entirely electrified at 99.87%, but rural regions lagged significantly with only 66.29% access. This gap underscored a larger issue of inequality in access to basic utilities.

The Transformation Journey:

A visual representation, through a two-line chart, illustrates this journey vividly. As the years progressed, a noticeable shift occurred. The lines representing rural and urban electricity access started converging. This wasn’t just infrastructural progress; it was a story of reducing disparity and fostering inclusivity.

Achieving Parity (2016 Onwards):

By 2016, an impressive feat was achieved: both rural and urban areas reached a 100% electrification rate. This landmark achievement was the culmination of a series of strategic initiatives, reflecting Tunisia’s steadfast commitment to equitable development.

Behind the Success:

The road to this success was paved with innovative strategies and strong political will. Implementing technologies like photovoltaic cells in remote areas exemplified the innovative approach to overcoming geographical and logistical challenges.

Conclusion – A Model for the Future:

Tunisia’s electrification story is not just about lighting up homes; it’s about empowering communities, ensuring equitable access to essential services, and setting a precedent for other nations facing similar challenges. It’s a narrative that demonstrates how vision, commitment, and innovation can transform a nation.

Let’s keep this conversation going! What are your thoughts on such transformative initiatives?

The Shift to Natural Gas for Electricity Production in Egypt Affected Rural Electrification

The Shift to Natural Gas for Electricity Production in Egypt Affected Rural Electrification

“Electricity is more than just a source of power for homes; it symbolizes hope and progress. However, this promise often goes unrealized for millions in rural areas around the globe. Egypt’s quest for energy equality—a story that started with challenges in 1992, the rise of a solution that not only brought electricity to villages but also changed lives.”

In 1992, Egypt faced a significant energy challenge with urban electrification at 98.4% and rural access lagging at 89.6%.
This disparity raised concerns about the inclusivity of the energy infrastructure and the well-being of rural communities.

A Greener, Cheaper, Overall Better Solution Emerges:

To tackle this formidable challenge, the proposed solution involved harnessing Egypt’s abundant natural gas resources. Natural gas, renowned for its cleaner and more sustainable attributes, emerged as a beacon of hope. The goal was not only to cater to escalating urban demands but to extend the benefits to long-overlooked rural areas, creating a more inclusive and environmentally friendly energy landscape. Additionally, natural gas offered economic advantages, being both cheaper and easier to remote in rural regions compared to traditional energy sources. This made it an ideal solution for bridging the energy divide and ensuring equitable access to electricity across Egypt.

Success Unveiled:

Natural gas production experienced substantial growth over the years, having a major role in impacting the construction of a resilient and accessible energy infrastructure. this economic viability made it an attractive solution for bridging the energy gap and ensuring equitable access to electricity across Egypt. This success wasn’t confined to urban centers but rippled out to rural communities, ensuring that the positive impact of electrification reached every corner of the nation.

The percentage of natural gas production witnessed remarkable growth over 10-year intervals, rising from nearly zero in 1971 to around 80% in 2011.

Symmetry, With Oil Sources:

There the growth of natural gas production aligns symmetrically with the decline in oil sources production. This visual harmony provides irrefutable evidence that the strategic integration of natural gas was not only effective but also instrumental in reducing dependence on less sustainable energy sources.

Fast forward to 2011:

Urban access surged to an impressive 99.74%, the most notable achievement was the substantial growth in rural electrification, which improved significantly (more than 10%) to reach 99.2%.
This visual representation underscores the remarkable progress in bringing electricity to rural areas, signaling a successful effort to bridge the gap.

Rural Electrification Triumphs:

The real triumph lies in the positive outcomes witnessed in rural electrification, as exemplified in the narrative of “Natural Gas and Rural Electrification.”

The integration of natural gas into the energy mixes catapulted Egypt into a new era—a landscape marked by balance, sustainability, and a profound impact on rural communities. The findings underscore the success of aligning energy production with both environmental and social imperatives.
Power Paradigm: Charting Africa’s Journey to Sustainable Electrification

Power Paradigm: Charting Africa’s Journey to Sustainable Electrification


The transformative threshold of Africa. Getting Africa on-line is not all about pulling together the disparate elements, but that this approach can be truly inspirational for the innovative technologies which shun conventional ‘hard-wired’ powers and embrace sustainable energy delivery. Despite all that, flickering of the previous shadows in some dimmed-down villages is the sign of change. Nevertheless, the narrative goes beyond the question of access and moves even further into green energy as light for illuminating our environment which is being over polluted at an unheard pace. This transformation encapsulates a dual ambition: clean and green lighting to homes, schools and factories, big and small, in this continent’s crowded cities and small villages under clear day and night skies. During the course of our discourse on details and stories surrounding Africa’s energy map, we will analyze more than just statistical aspects of electric power availability between towns and villages and the recent movement towards renewables – from darkness to sustainable light, which portrays an illuminating future.

We can also check the disparity between urban and rural areas in Africa.

Our initiative seeks to illuminate the African continent by expanding access to electricity, with the firm commitment to SDG 13.2—integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. We aim to electrify the future of Africa through the adoption of renewable energy solutions, ensuring that every watt powering development is also protecting our planet. By fostering the use of clean, renewable energy sources, we are not only turning on the lights but also paving the way for a sustainable and resilient energy ecosystem across African communities.

Increasing electric power consumption (kWh per capita) in Africa does not inherently lead to a rise in CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) when we strategically incorporate renewable energy sources. By integrating solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power into the energy mix, Africa can satisfy its growing energy needs while mitigating carbon footprint. This sustainable approach aligns with the global ambition to combat climate change, embodying the spirit of SDG 13.2. It demonstrates that economic growth and environmental stewardship can coexist, powering development that honors our collective commitment to a greener future.

We can see from this graph that in the European Union, increasing electric power consumption per capita did not lead to an increase in CO2 emissions per capita. This is due to the fact that they have increased their reliance on renewables, shown in the following graph.

In conclusion, the imperative for Africa is not just to electrify but to do so sustainably. Green energy solutions offer a pathway to empower the continent with the electricity it needs, without compromising the health of our planet. The adoption of renewable energy technologies in Africa represents a convergence of developmental aspirations with ecological responsibility. By harnessing the abundant renewable resources available, from solar to wind to hydro, Africa can leapfrog traditional, carbon-intensive energy models, setting a global example of sustainable growth. This approach not only addresses immediate energy needs but also aligns with long-term climate goals, fulfilling our collective responsibility to future generations.

China’s Greenhouse Gas Surge: A Climate Challenge

China’s Greenhouse Gas Surge: A Climate Challenge

Addressing the global challenge of greenhouse gas emissions is imperative, with gases like CO2, CH4, and N2O significantly impacting our environment. These gas trap heat, contributing to global warming and climate change, with consequences extending to poor air quality, health issues, and disruptions in temperature and precipitation patterns.

Why address the issue in China specifically?

The focus on China is crucial as it plays a pivotal role in this challenge, contributing 27% of global CO2 emissions and one-third of the world’s greenhouse gases. These compelling statistics, sourced from a recent World Bank report, emphasize the urgency of recognizing and addressing China’s role. Crafting effective global strategies for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions requires a nuanced understanding of China’s significant impact on this critical issue.



The below line chart illustrates China’s greenhouse gas emissions in kilotons of CO2 equivalent from 2005 to 2020. The graph depicts a consistent upward trend, starting at nearly 7.3 million kt in 2005 and reaching 13 million kt in 2020


The following map offers a comparative analysis of greenhouse gas emissions between China and other nations in 2020. The stark contrast is evident, with China recording almost 13 million kt, while Russia stands at 2.3 million kt, Brazil at 1.6 million kt, the USA at 5.5 million kt, and Canada at 6.7 million kt. These figures underscore the alarming magnitude of the issue emanating from China.

Contributing Factors to China’s Environmental Impact:

1) China as Global Manufacturer: As the world’s largest manufacturer, China’s robust industry and escalating energy demand significantly contribute to emissions. Fossil fuel combustion for energy production and manufacturing processes plays a central role in the nation’s substantial carbon footprint.

2) Agricultural Impact: Methane emissions from livestock and rice paddies contribute significantly to the intricate landscape of greenhouse gas sources.

3) Urbanization and Infrastructure Development: The construction and operation of buildings, roads, and transportation systems play a role in the environmental challenge.

4) Consumption Patterns: China’s growing middle class and consumer culture contribute to increased demand for goods, impacting production-related emissions.
The lifestyle choices and consumption patterns of the population contribute to the overall carbon footprint.

Comprehensive Solutions for a Sustainable Future:

1) Renewable Energy Transition: Transitioning to renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, is crucial for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating emissions.

2) Energy Efficiency Measures: Implementing energy-efficient technologies across industries minimizes emissions in transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

3) Circular Economy Practices: Encouraging a circular economy reduces waste and promotes the reuse and recycling of materials, fostering sustainability.

4) Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Investing in CCS technologies captures and stores carbon emissions from industries, playing a key role in emission reduction.

5) Global Collaboration: Collaborating globally on research and technology sharing strengthens efforts to combat climate change effectively.

Final Thoughts:

The urgency to address this challenge is not just a national responsibility but a global imperative. By adopting sustainable practices, embracing clean technologies, and fostering international collaboration, we can collectively steer the trajectory towards a more environmentally resilient future.

Sustainable Development Against the Quest for Power: A Case Study of the EU and China

Sustainable Development Against the Quest for Power: A Case Study of the EU and China

Imagine the little Smurf village we all grew up with, the precious community of tiny blue creatures, each distinguished by a special trait. Some of these traits are arguably better than others. Indeed, the village could maybe do without Brainy Smurf’s long lectures, and some Smurfs may find affinity in being spared of some of Jokey Smurf’s exploding presents. These collective peculiarities however have always been directed at the best interest of the village, all under the fatherly supervision of our beloved Papa Smurf. That being said, an entity lying deep inside the forest constantly threatens our friendly family, and even though Gargamel is only one person, his size and abilities pose a serious concern to the village as a whole.

Now imagine a group of little countries united for the best interest of their people, constantly working on nullifying their negative impact on nature by investing into renewable energies in an effort to ditch such polluting sources as combustible fuels. Their effort is met with success, however the quest for power seems to be a bigger concern for an entity lying thousands of miles away. An entity whose size exceeds that of all our little countries combined: Enter the conflict of power and sustainability between the EU and China.

Since my mother’s middle school years, otherwise known as the early 80s, the EU, represented by France and Belgium witnessed a considerable increase in alternative and nuclear energy use, offset by a similarly acute decline in fossil fuel energy consumption. One can hardly say the same about China.

To put it into perspective, instead of listing numbers, we will ask for the help of another icon, Mr Pac man, at the bottom of the dashboard. Watch how he increasingly consumes our little Smurfs as years go by (applicable from 1990 to 2020), soon enough, his mouth will have closed entirely and our tiny blue friends will be a thing of the past.

What to do then? Surely we cannot let this happen! Well, the best way to stop this direction of development is to make its products worthless. How so? Here are a a few options:

  • Impose tariffs on Chinese goods to offset their traditionally lower prices and drive them out of the market
  • Incentivize multinational companies through subsidies to bring operations outsourced to China back to countries compliant with SDG goals
  • Raise awareness about the issue through media campaigns highlighting the harm caused by China’s quest for power to the international community

Such measures coupled with other sanctions have been successful in putting enough pressure on various entities to induce them into making a change, with plenty of examples to refer to.

We call upon the governments who have the longer term in mind to come together along with their people and recommend that they apply the measures above so that our Smurfs can be saved from the fearsome grip of Gargamel the evil wizard.