Global Resources

Enabling Access to Rural Electrification: Current Thinking and Major Activities in Energy, Poverty and Gender

Author: E. Cecelski
Publisher: World Bank
Publication Date: Jan 2000
Through a review of current thinking on energy, poverty reduction and gender equality, this paper attempts to conceptualise linkages and needs in this area. It focuses on rural electrification and renewable energy, as a tool both for sustainable energy development and for greater equity in rural areas. Section 1 and 2 review respectively sustainable energy development and current poverty thinking, and new thinking on poverty and its implications for the energy sector. Section 3 summarises promising approaches, based on recent studies, to widening the poor's access to rural electrification, and identifies key empirical questions concerning energy-poverty linkages. Current efforts in energy and gender are reviewed in section 4 which highlights four key issues for poor rural women: gender-disaggregated data and analysis; wood energy, cooking and health; gender-specific electricity needs; and equal access to credit and other resources for micro-enterprises. A suggested agenda for the future includes documenting existing experiences, encouraging multidisciplinary dialogue, and developing new approaches in energy, poverty and gender.