In developing countries, many poor people suffer from a lack of access to modern energy. Nearly 75 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans, or 550 million people, do not have access to electricity. In South Asia, some 50 percent, or 700 million people, lack access. About 90 percent of those without access in South Asia live in rural areas.
The International Energy Agency estimates 1.4 billion people will still lack access to electricity in 2030 unless new approaches and policies are adopted. Successfully tackling electrification means adapting programs to local contexts and national environments. The World Bank is assisting countries pursue various public and private avenues of electrification, from centralized grid connections to off-grid approaches in partnership with civil society organizations for more rural areas.
Through its investment projects and technical advisory activities, the Bank supports governments as they:
- rehabilitate and strengthen rural electricity distribution networks and support the corporate development of rural electricity supply companies;
- strengthen the capacity of regional and local governments to plan and manage electrification projects, including those that accompany other rural development activities;
- promote electrification investment opportunities to potential private investors;
- develop the legal framework and associated regulations to facilitate provision of capital cost subsidies to private sector providers;
- develop guidelines for electricity systems design and construction appropriate for rural areas, including operations norms;
- develop procedures for calculating rural tariffs and norms for rural service quality;
- develop appropriate policies and incentives for development of renewable energy and of public/private cost-sharing in renewable energy investment projects;
- develop and pilot sustainable financing strategies;
- support capable, local communities and stakeholders such as local governments, consumer associations, and village groups interested in operating and participating in the financing of small electricity concessions;
- develop multi-sector programs to serve as an effective interface between the development of rural electrification programs and productive and social programs and projects executed on the same territory by other actors.