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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

On-Grid or Off-Grid Electricity? African Consumers Say…We Want Both

In the push for electricity access in the developing world, many policymakers are trying to figure out where on-grid or off-grid solutions make the most sense. My new paper asks 39,000 consumers in 12 African countries about their energy use and demand. The big takeaway: African consumers don’t view grid versus off-grid as a binary question.

Do African Countries Consume Less (or More) Electricity than Their Income Levels Suggest?

 Are some countries too poor to consume a lot more energy? Or is income growth being held back by a lack of reliable and affordable electricity? While there is a strong relationship between energy consumption and income, the direction of causality is often far less clear. One way to estimate unmet demand may be to try to compare pairs of countries—e.g., how much additional energy does Kenya need to reach the level of Tunisia?

Improving Energy Access: What the US Did in Eight Years, Kenya Has Done in Three

In the twelve months to June 2016, nearly 1.3 million Kenyan households were connected to the grid for the first time. This impressive feat pushed Kenya’s national electricity connectivity rate to 55 percent from just 27 percent in 2013, one of the fastest connection increases recorded in the region. These latest connections illustrate the Kenyan government’s commitment to a goal of achieving universal energy access by 2020.

Why the New White House Should Love Power Africa

We know very little about what a Trump administration will do about longstanding US efforts to combat global hunger, disease, and poverty. But here are five reasons Power Africa should appeal to a new White House team presumably focused on cutting waste and promoting business.

Why Is DfID Pushing Solar-Only When Africans Say They Want On-Grid Electricity?

Yesterday the UK government formally launched its much-awaited Energy Africa campaign, which aims to accelerate electricity access for rural Africans. In a surprise move, DfID’s new plans include only support for small-scale solar power solutions. Typically these systems provide just enough power for a LED light bulb or two and a cellphone charger (see here and here for a few DfID favorites).

US Energy Policy Hypocrisy vs. Global Energy Poverty

The Electrify Africa Act is back, re-vamped for 2015 and a new session of Congress. Representatives Royce, Engel, and Bass introduced the bill this week (the House passed an earlier version last year, but the Senate didn’t vote on corresponding legislation before the end of the last congressional session). It includes many important provisions that aim to help African countries extend access to electricity to at least 50 million people by 2020.

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