Aug 2011, Levai, D., Rippey, P., Rhyne, E. et al
How can the microfinance sector in Africa increase access to energy?
This report summarizes the results of the Energy Links Project, a three year pilot by the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International. Energy Links aimed to determine how the established microfinance sector in African countries can address energy poverty by increasing access to small scale clean energy solutions at the household level.
Energy Links aimed to improve access to renewable energy for underserved populations and promote a financially sustainable approach through innovative financing mechanisms to establish and grow the microenergy sector. It partnered with MFIs and savings groups. Energy Links also found that a sector wide approach can be successful at building a critical mass of institutional capacity, and putting the sector on the path to long term viability. Lessons from Energy Links’ experience highlight the importance of:
- Adequate supply of small scale household energy products;
- Sensitizing decision makers about energy poverty and demonstrating the development impact and the business potential of modern energy;
- Targeting modern energy to the specific needs of the target population;
- Energy value chain should provide a ready and reliable supply of products;
- Industry building perspective.
The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) was launched in 2009 to help bring about the conditions to achieve full financial inclusion around the world. Constructing a financial inclusion sector that reaches everyone with quality services will require the combined efforts of many actors. cfi contributes to full inclusion by collaborating with sector participants to tackle challenges beyond the scope of any one actor, using a toolkit that moves from thought leadership to action.