Using renewable energy in a sustainable and holistic manner as a tool to eradicate rural poverty in Africa Conference Paper uri icon


  • Rural poverty in developing countries is a social problem that is well recognized and causes concern globally. The UN recently met to review the MDG's and acknowledge that there was limited progress to date; a looming target date have highlighted the difficulty in addressing development issues on the ground where people are trying to survive, often on as little as $2 per day or less. This paper demonstrates the model of rural village energy services centres by using solar energy to provide solution to most of the problems of a typical African rural village. This stand alone system provides energy services solution leveraging sustainable resources in a holistic, community-integrated fashion to improve health, information, communication, education and preserving the environment while it kick-starts micro-economies in rural villages. It intends to increase productivity and ultimately eradicate poverty. This solution is still in a prototype stage but has its special interest because it hopes to provide clean water and biogas apart from the solar generated electricity. Through the implementation of community energy services, stand alone decentralised solutions intend to divert rural current expenditure on kerosene, offering significant reductions in carbon emissions, environmental damage and respiratory-illness related deaths which were recently estimated at 1.6M per annum worldwide as per a World Bank report. This corresponding increase in energy efficiency drives an increase in productivity and thus a step closer to the realization of the MDGs as has been documented in various case studies (Annual Report 2008 (. (2008). Renewable Energy Services for Developing Countries - In Support of the Millennium Development Goals) [8]. This paper covers the technology implementation starting from demand until it reaches the level of success which then makes it suitable for replication.

publication date

  • 2011