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Improving Sustainable Access to Electricity in Rural Tanzania: A System Dynamics Approach to the Matembwe Village


  • Francesco Tonini

    (Energy Department, Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 21056 Milan, Italy)

  • Francesco Davide Sanvito

    (Energy Department, Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 21056 Milan, Italy)

  • Fabrizio Colombelli

    (CEFA Onlus Via Lame, 118, 40122 Bologna, Italy)

  • Emanuela Colombo

    (Energy Department, Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 21056 Milan, Italy)


As it emerges from the literature, electricity access in rural contexts is deeply intertwined with socioeconomic dynamics. However, the advent of a reliable and sufficient source of electricity is not the sole driver that might contribute to local development. Indeed, complementary activities might have a crucial role in sustaining the development of rural communities as well as the electricity access. The current research addresses the lack of counterfactual scenarios in which the impact of complementary activities on electrification projects can be investigated. The authors introduce the case study of Matembwe village, a rural community in the Njombe region of Tanzania. The data collection includes the electricity consumption, number of electricity connections, and number of income-generating activities in a timespan ranging from 1989 to 2015. The analysis is based on system dynamics. The study considers different scenarios representing the dynamics related to the following complementary actions: access to market measures, access to credit measures, and access to usable skills. On the one hand, the study reveals that the effectiveness of the considered complementary actions is limited except from the access to microcredit which fosters an increase in electricity connections by 17%. On the other hand, both access to microcredit and the starting up of a local cooperative by CEFA Onlus that reinvests its profits in the local market impact the socio-economic dimension by 69% and 22%, respectively.

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  • Francesco Tonini & Francesco Davide Sanvito & Fabrizio Colombelli & Emanuela Colombo, 2022. "Improving Sustainable Access to Electricity in Rural Tanzania: A System Dynamics Approach to the Matembwe Village," Energies, MDPI, vol. 15(5), pages 1-17, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:15:y:2022:i:5:p:1902-:d:764529

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