Mainstreaming Access to Energy Services: Experiences from Three African Regional Economic Communities


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Publication Title

Mainstreaming Access to Energy Services - Experiences from Three African Regional Economic Communities

Publication Type

UNDP Report


UNDP Senegal

Publication Date

May 2007


Publication URL


Laurent Coche
Regional Energy for Poverty Reduction Programme
United Nations Development Programme
BP 154, Dakar, Senegal
Tel + 221- 867.27.91
Fax + 221- 867.22.55



The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation includes references to an emerging international consensus on the role of energy in sustainable development. This “new consensus” consists of three points.

1 - Energy services are an essential input to economic development and social progress, notably to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Energy for the Poor (2002), prepared by the U.K. Department for International Development(DFID), clearly exposed the many linkages between energy and the multiple aspects of development. Sustainable, affordable energy services are essential to attain all of the MDGs, but in particular are essential for poverty reduction, improved health, gender equality and sustainable management of natural resources.

2 - Under current economic conditions, provision of energy services to poor populations in many developing countries is not attractive to market actors. Experience in the decades before and after Johannesburg had amply demonstrated the positive and negative aspects of a purely market-based approach to the provision of energy services. On the positive side, in the power sector for instance, privatisation and deregulation had in many cases reduced expenditure of public funds in support of money-losing public utilities. However, on the negative side, these attempts only rarely achieved improvement in the quality or reliability of service in urban areas. In almost no cases had they achieved improvement in the rates of access to electricity in rural and peri-urban areas. Similarly, access to, and sustainability of, provision of domestic fuels and of fuels for transport had not improved under the pure market approach.

3 - As a consequence, public authorities must act vigorously to create the conditions that will allow greatly expanded access to energy services. In the African context, whereas the new consensus had concluded that public intervention in appropriate forms was essential, an inventory of public action showed that energy was rarely mentioned in African national and regional development strategies. As a result, public action in all forms—investment, regulatory action, ODA —was almost absent in the energy sectors in Africa.

Since Johannesburg, international consensus on the importance of access to energy has increased. The recent increase in oil prices has further strengthened awareness of the need for public action to guarantee long-term access to energy services.


Chapter 1 - Context
Chapter 2 - Regional Economic Councils develop energy strategies with UNDP support
Chapter 3 - The national and regional levels
Chapter 4 - Integrating energy access into development strategies
Chapter 5 - Conclusion, investing in energy for development


See also

External Resources


 MainstreamingAccess 2007.pdf

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