Rural electrification of the Brazilian Amazon - Achievements and lessons
The Brazilian government has the ambition to provide complete electricity coverage for all citizens as a means to promote development and reduce inequalities. Full coverage implies the provision of electricity to 15 million people in the country by the end of 2010 through the program Luz para Todos (LPT - light for all) launched in 2003. So far, 11 million people have benefited, 2 million of which live in the Amazon. In this paper, we analyze the linkages between development and rural electrification through the Human Development Index (HDI) and within the context of the Amazon. We examine the suitability of the HDI as a planning and monitoring tool for improving energy access and development. We show that the recognition of electricity access as a driver for development has led to concrete goals for electrification, actual action and welfare improvement. Our study serves to highlight the role of LPT in the development of the Amazon region, and the specific features and achievements of the Brazilian policy for universal electrification. We conclude that some challenges related to the electrification of isolated areas still lie ahead. We finalize with a discussion on the relevance of the Brazilian experience to other developing countries.
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