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Does Large Scale Infrastructure Investment Alleviate Poverty? Impacts of Rwanda's Electricity Access Roll-Out Program

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  • Lenz, Luciane
  • Munyehirwe, Anicet
  • Peters, Jörg
  • Sievert, Maximiliane

Abstract

The United Nations' objective to provide electricity to the 1.3 billion people without access in developing countries comes at high costs. Little evidence exists on socioeconomic impacts of electrification. This paper rigorously investigates effects of a large grid extension program in Rwanda on all rural beneficiary groups: households, microenterprises, health centers, and schools. While the program has led to a tremendous increase of connections, appliance uptake and electricity consumption remain low. We find only weak evidence for impacts on classical poverty indicators. To inform future policy design, we call for thorough cost-benefit comparison between on-grid and off-grid solutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Lenz, Luciane & Munyehirwe, Anicet & Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane, 2015. "Does Large Scale Infrastructure Investment Alleviate Poverty? Impacts of Rwanda's Electricity Access Roll-Out Program," Ruhr Economic Papers 555, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:555
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Richmond, Jennifer & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2019. "Electrification and appliance ownership over time: Evidence from rural India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    2. Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane & Toman, Michael A., 2019. "Rural electrification through mini-grids: Challenges ahead," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 27-31.
    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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Lie Ma & Dandan Li & Xiaobo Tao & Haifeng Dong & Bei He & Xiaosu Ye, 2017. "Inequality, Bi-Polarization and Mobility of Urban Infrastructure Investment in China’s Urban System," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-19, September.
    5. Houngbonon, Georges V. & Le Quentrec, Erwan, 2019. "Access to Electricity and ICT Usage: A Country-level Assessment on Sub-Saharan Africa," 2nd Europe – Middle East – North African Regional ITS Conference, Aswan 2019: Leveraging Technologies For Growth 201728, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    6. Grogan, Louise, 2018. "Time use impacts of rural electrification: Longitudinal evidence from Guatemala," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 304-317.
    7. Bastien-Olvera, Bernardo A., 2019. "Business-as-usual redefined: Energy systems under climate-damaged economies warrant review of nationally determined contributions," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 862-868.
    8. 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.
    9. Brijesh Mainali & Jyrki Luukkanen & Semida Silveira & Jari Kaivo-oja, 2018. "Evaluating Synergies and Trade-Offs among Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Explorative Analyses of Development Paths in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-25, March.
    10. Jörg Peters, 2017. ", by A. Estache and Q. Wodon," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(3), pages 460-462, March.
    11. Xu, Li & Zhang, Qin & Shi, Xunpeng, 2019. "Stakeholders strategies in poverty alleviation and clean energy access: A case study of China's PV poverty alleviation program," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    12. Trotter, Philipp A. & Cooper, Nathanial J. & Wilson, Peter R., 2019. "A multi-criteria, long-term energy planning optimisation model with integrated on-grid and off-grid electrification – The case of Uganda," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 243(C), pages 288-312.
    13. Paul Bertheau & Ayobami Solomon Oyewo & Catherina Cader & Christian Breyer & Philipp Blechinger, 2017. "Visualizing National Electrification Scenarios for Sub-Saharan African Countries," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-20, November.
    14. Ryan Roberts & Josephine Kaviti Musango & Alan Colin Brent & Matthew Kuperus Heun, 2018. "The Correlation between Energy Cost Share, Human, and Economic Development: Using Time Series Data from Australasia, Europe, North America, and the BRICS Nations," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(9), pages 1-15, September.
    15. Jakob Müllner, 2017. "International project finance: review and implications for international finance and international business," Management Review Quarterly, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 97-133, April.
    16. Holstenkamp, Lars, 2019. "What do we know about cooperative sustainable electrification in the global South? A synthesis of the literature and refined social-ecological systems framework," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 307-320.
    17. AbuBakr Bahaj & Luke Blunden & Christopher Kanani & Patrick James & Isaac Kiva & Zoë Matthews & Heather Price & Hildah Essendi & Jane Falkingham & Gerard George, 2019. "The Impact of an Electrical Mini-grid on the Development of a Rural Community in Kenya," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-21, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    energy access; difference-in-differences; electrification; mixed-methods; Sub-Saharan Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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