Case: East Africa - Scaling up Access to Modern Energy Services

East African Community (EAC) Regional Strategy for Scaling up access to modern Energy services

Reviewed by Timothy Byakola, CDI / INFORSE East Africa, Uganda


The East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organisation of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Lack of energy access strategies poses a major risk to the abilities of East African Community countries’ to meet MDGs and reduce poverty. With a population of over one hundred million people, energy “poverty” affects all countries in the region. Traditional biomass (wood, charcoal and animal waste) currently meets most of the regions’ household cooking and heating needs. Diminishing of biomass resources has reached critical levels in the region. This coupled with the rapid urbanisation, has contributed to the increasing scarcity and high price of cooking fuel in urban areas.

The East African Regional Strategy seeks to engage EAC partner states in an ambitious initiative to scale up access to modern energy services to support the achievement of the MDGs and poverty reduction. The strategy is a plan to meet the region’s energy and development targets by scaling up new and existing business models, leveraging development finance and securing programmatic support to ensure an enabling environment for increased energy access.

The objective of the strategy is to enable at least half of the population to access modern energy services by 2015 i.e. 9.6 million households (Aprox. 48 million people), 23,000 extra localities.

The strategy also aims at the following:

· Reinforcing regional integration by pooling good practices and exchanging experiences for capacity building.
· Promoting harmonised political and institutional frameworks to include energy access as a key national priority for ensuring human development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
· Supporting development of MDG based investment programmes.


The strategy was adopted by EAC Council of Ministers in November 2006.
In January 2009, a project document “Initial Implentation Activities“ was published including a 24-month plan to implement the strategy with a budget of US$ 3.2 million.
The final report document was preperad in June 2009 “Regional Strategy on Scaling Up Access to Modern Energy Services in order to achieve the MDGs.”
Both reports were prepered by EAC with assistance from the UNDP and GTZ.

Different Players

The EAC Energy Strategy will be implemented with various partners.
· East African Community countries
· UNDP, GTZ and the EU energy initiative have shown great interest to support EAC in realising the energy access goals
· UN habitat has initiated a programme to improve livelihoods in poor urban areas and human settlements. UN habitat is working with a group of stakeholders to improve access to modern energy services in poor urban settlements.
· WHO has developed technical expertise in the field of household energy and health. The experience of WHO will be useful in generating knowledge on the impacts of traditional solid fuel use.
· SIDA has been supporting rural electrification programmes in Tanzania.

Benefits and Impacts

The four EAC energy Access targets include:
Target No. 1: The strategy aims at introducing modern cooking practices for 50% of those relying on traditional biomass for cooking. Various options for improvement include improved cook-stoves, biogas, liquefied petroleum gas etc.
Target No.2: The strategy aims to increase access to electrification of the urban and peri-urban populations.
Target No. 3: Access to modern energy services for all schools, clinics, hospitals and community centres.
Target No. 4: Access to mechanical power within the community for productive use and heating for all communities.
The outcome will be that an additional 9.6 million households (approximately 50 million people) will have access to modern energy services.
The strategy will contribute to a reduction of net greenhouse emissions from burning of traditional biomass, fossil fuels through the use of efficient energy stoves, biogas and expansion of rural and urban electrification. The sale of these technologies will contribute energy jobs.


· Build the institutional capacity of key public and private sector institutions that will have regional impacts.
· Assist member countries develop investment programmes.
· Develop a Regional strategy to inform and support National strategies.
· Undertake comprehensive analysis of energy policies across the region.
· Remove barriers to expansion of access to modern energy services.
· Mainstream access to basic energy services within National planning and budgeting processes.
· Develop strategies to build National capacity to support the role of private sector and communities in enhancing effective energy service delivery.
· Develop pro-poor energy policies and strategies including financing support programmes e.g. soft loans, grants e.t.c
· Identify and promote suitable models.

Financing the Strategy

The total capital expenditure to cover scale-up of existing and introduction of new business models is budgeted to USD 2.7 billion:
· USD 1.6b end user contribution
· USD 1.1b subsidy by govt and dev partners

The support required to trigger capital expenditure is USD 556 million:
· USD 217m from dev partners programme support
· USD 291m loan guarantees by dev banks
· USD 48m from EAC

More information:

Timothy Byakola, CDI / INFORSE East Africa, Uganda. and

EAC publication January 2009 (pdf) and Country Report and Implamantation Plans can be downloaded from


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Energy Access

Solutions to provide energy access for all


· East Africa: Scaling up Access to Modern Energy Services

  · Kenya: Decentralizing Power Policy
  · Kenya: Afforestation for Charcoal
  · Mali: Jatropha Biofuel for Rural Electrification

· Mali: Productive Use of Energy

  · Mali: Solar Lighting Kits for Rural Areas
  · Uganda: Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Energy
  · India: Solar Dryer
  · India: Solar Lantern Charging Station
  · India: Household Biogas Plant
  · India: Micro-Agroecological Village Development Model
  · Nepal: Improved Water Mills
  · Nepal: Charging Centre for Solar Lamps
  · Sri Lanka: Commercialization of Improved Cookstoves
  · Sri Lanka: Standard Code for Domestic Biogas Systems
The cases were collected in the framework of the "Southern Voices on Climate Change" Project. Link: