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Knowledge Module 2: Energy Poverty and Development


Stephen Karekezi And Susan Mcdade


This study focuses on the situation of the poor people – especially in developing countries – paying particular attention to their access to cleaner and affordable energy options. Poverty, as discussed in this report, includes concepts of both lack of access to income and inequality as well as limited access to services (such as access to cleaner energy options), opportunities and social exclusion, which are often intimately linked to inequality. The report is sub-divided into thirteen (13) chapters, chapter one provides the introduction and scope of the study.

Chapter 2 discusses poverty and development, it is noted that economic growth is an essential prerequisite for overcoming poverty. In order for countries to achieve sustained economic growth, they are required to improve access to cleaner and modern forms of energy as well as the services.

Chapter 3 discusses energy and development. The chapter examines in detail how access to modern forms of energy will promote economic growth, expand employment opportunities, support the provision of social services and in general, promote human development. In addition, the study establishes that access to modern forms of energy is an essential input for achieving most MDGs, which are a reference of progress against poverty by 2015 and a benchmark for possible progress beyond that date.

Chapter 4 discusses household energy, for the poorest people in the world; the most inelastic segment of demand for energy is that for cooking and heating to ensure basic survival. The chapter further examines how “household energy” is often poorly understood by development planners at large, and within the energy sector often not considered in policies that historically have been focused on electricity supply rather than other household fuels.

Chapter 5 looks intodiscusses energy and production, the study confirms that virtually all value-adding activities, both paid and unpaid, require energy as an input for the production process. Even in its simplest form that is human or animal energy, it can be used for doing manual work, or running simple machines such as mills.

Chapter 6 discusses energy and agriculture. The chapter establishes that most of the caloric intake of the poorest people worldwide comes from basic grains such as rice, corn, millet, and wheat, which require energy for production, harvest, processing, cultivation, irrigation, transport, and preservation. The chapter also analyses how the use of cleaner and affordable energy options can ensure food security among the poor.

Chapter 7 focuses ondiscusses energy and transport. It is noted that mobility is an essential requirement that ensures the delivery of goods and services. For the poor, it is an essential factor in providing options for employment, production, and livelihoods. The more limited the transport options, the more limited the livelihood options.

Chapter 8 discusses energy and education. While basic educational services and basic literacy can be achieved without the use of cleaner energy inputs, access to energy services can improve the quality and availability of educational services and increase the likelihood that children will attend and complete school.

Chapter 9 provides a brief background ondiscusses energy and health. The study confirms that modern health services as well as professional and health sector workers require access to cleaner energy options for both institutional and household use. The chapter further examines other health issues that are normally affected by inadequate access or lack of access to cleaner energy options.

Chapter 10 discusses energy and water. About 1.2 billion people lack access to safe water and about 2.6 billion people lack access to toilets, latrines, and other forms of improved sanitationary facilities in developing countries. The chapter examines how access to modern and affordable forms of energy can play an important role in improving access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries.

Chapter 11 reviewsdiscusses energy and women. The study confirms that wider access to cleaner and affordable energy options can improve gender parity and school enrollment of girls. For example, access to cleaner energy options (electricity for lighting in schools and cleaner cooking fuels at home such as LPG) can extend studying hours for girls by reducing the time they spent collecting fuel. The chapter ends by examining the linkages between women and energy.

Chapter 12 presentsdiscusses energy and environment. This section attributes to the environmental sustainability within the context of development, building on the broader issues covered in subsequent chapters. The study confirms that there has been growing interest in examining efficient, environmentally sound, climate-friendly energy options that deliver substantial development benefits and reduce the climate risk profile of the energy industries.

This paper is available on an exchange basis. If you find it to be useful, we encourage you to send us any relevant publications from your organization. To request for the full paper, please fill in the publications request form

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