Access to electricity is important for human wellbeing and development. While sparse populations and remoteness from existing transmission and distribution facilities are major problems in tackling the issue of rural electricity access in Africa, a major factor are also the high cost solutions which have hitherto been used.
The EUEI PDF and the Africa Electrification Initiative (AEI) have jointly implemented a workshop aiming at empowering energy practitioners and decision-makers in Saharan Africa with the knowledge needed to successfully implement low-cost rural electrification. The workshop took place on 3-4 September in Arusha and was hosted by the Rural Energy Agency (REA) Tanzania.
The specific objectives were to:
- Raise awareness about the existence of appropriate low-cost rural electrification technologies.
- Show how and where these technologies have been implemented successfully.
- Build capacity on implementing these technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 50 practitioners from 13 different countries followed the inivtation. Expert presentations and panel discussions on the various low cost technologies provided participants with detailed information on potentials and challenges; targeted case studies were carried out using the information collected by participants from their own countries.
The findings of the workshop will be compiled into a learning handbook and disseminated among participants and various rural electrification authorities, regulators, ministries and utilities in Sub Saharan Africa.
Follow-on activities to integrate low cost technologies into rural electrification efforts were initiated in Zambia, Benin and Uganda. Furthermore, the development of a technical Shield Wire System (SWS) manual was initiated by the AEI following expression of interest by several workshop participants.