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Impacts of Rural Electrification Revisited: The African Context

Author

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  • Jörg Peters
  • Maximiliane Sievert

Abstract

The investment requirements to achieve the United Nations? universal electricity access goal by 2030 are estimated at 640 billion US Dollars. The assumption underlying this goal is that electrification contributes to poverty alleviation in many regards. In recent years, a body of literature has emerged that widely confirms this positive poverty impact assumption. Most of these studies, however, are based on data from Asia and Latin America. This paper challenges the transferability of impact findings in the literature to the African context. Using a unique data set that we collected in various African countries we suggest that impact expectations on income, education, and health should be discounted considerably for Africa. In many cases, the low levels of electricity consumption can also be served by low-cost solar alternatives. To ensure cost-effective usage of public investments into rural electrification, we call for careful cost-benefit comparisons of on-grid and off-grid solutions. JEL Classification: O33, P46, Q41.

Suggested Citation

  • Jörg Peters & Maximiliane Sievert, 2015. "Impacts of Rural Electrification Revisited: The African Context," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 23(HS), pages 77-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:edddbu:edd_hs03_0077
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gunther Bensch & Jochen Kluve & Jörg Peters, 2011. "Impacts of rural electrification in Rwanda," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(4), pages 567-588, December.
    2. Peters, Jörg & Vance, Colin & Harsdorff, Marek, 2011. "Grid Extension in Rural Benin: Micro-Manufacturers and the Electrification Trap," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 773-783, May.
    3. Bensch, Gunther & Peters, Jörg & Schraml, Linda, 2010. "Energy usage and socio-economic conditions in mozambique: Evidence from GTZ Electrification Project Regions," RWI Materialien 56, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
    4. Bensch, Gunther & Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane, 2015. "The lighting transition in Africa: From kerosene to LED and the emerging dry-cell battery problem," Ruhr Economic Papers 579, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Rud, Juan Pablo, 2012. "Electricity provision and industrial development: Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 352-367.
    6. Taryn Dinkelman, 2011. "The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3078-3108, December.
    7. Molly Lipscomb & A. Mushfiq Mobarak & Tania Barham, 2013. "Development Effects of Electrification: Evidence from the Topographic Placement of Hydropower Plants in Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 200-231, April.
    8. van de Walle, Dominique & Ravallion, Martin & Mendiratta, Vibhuti & Koolwal, Gayatri, 2013. "Long-term impacts of household electrification in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6527, The World Bank.
    9. Roger Fouquet & Peter J.G. Pearson, 2006. "Seven Centuries of Energy Services: The Price and Use of Light in the United Kingdom (1300-2000)," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 139-178.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lenz, Luciane & Munyehirwe, Anicet & Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane, 2017. "Does Large-Scale Infrastructure Investment Alleviate Poverty? Impacts of Rwanda’s Electricity Access Roll-Out Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 88-110.
    2. Jean-Claude Berthelemy & Arnaud Millien, 2018. "Impact of Decentralized Electrification Projects on Sustainable Development: A Meta-Analysis," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01965653, HAL.
    3. Grimm, Michael & Lenz, Luciane & Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane, 2016. "Demand for Off-Grid Solar Electricity: Experimental Evidence from Rwanda," IZA Discussion Papers 10427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. repec:zbw:ifweej:201861 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jean-Claude Berthelemy & Arnaud Millien, 2018. "Impact of Decentralized Electrification Projects on Sustainable Development: A Meta-Analysis," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 18039, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    6. repec:taf:jdevst:v:53:y:2017:i:3:p:460-462 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Peters, Jörg, 2016. "Infrastructure and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review," Ruhr Economic Papers 628, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. repec:eee:rensus:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:924-934 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:bla:wireae:v:7:y:2018:i:5:n:e301 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2016. "Solar off-grid markets in Africa: Recent dynamics and the role of branded products," Ruhr Economic Papers 619, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. Bensch, Gunther & Grimm, Michael & Huppertz, Maximilian & Langbein, Jörg & Peters, Jörg, 2018. "Are promotion programs needed to establish off-grid solar energy markets? Evidence from rural Burkina Faso," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 1060-1068.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    energy access; on-grid electrification; off-grid electrification; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • P46 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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