Improving Livelihoods and Human Capital | Learn more

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Improving access to electricity to enhance human capital and improve livelihoods

Even though significant progress has been made toward achieving universal access to electricity, many households and businesses are not taking full advantage of the socio-economic benefits of electrification. This is because they do not use electricity for purposes beyond lighting and charging mobile devices. In addition, electricity service to public institutions is limited in some settings, especially in parts of Africa, where half of the public secondary schools and a quarter of public health facilities have poor access to energy.

Improving Livelihoods and Human Capital (ILHC) is a new initiative under ESMAP’s Electricity Access Program that aims to promote the productive uses of electricity (PUE) and galvanize the electrification of public institutions. The program, launched in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, strongly focuses on supporting clean and reliable electricity supply for health facilities, enhancing vaccine cold storage, and strengthening communication and education in the provision of essential services, including water, sanitation, and transportation. These activities focus on the development impact of energy access and post-pandemic recovery operations, laying the groundwork for restoring livelihoods, creating jobs, and generating income for all population groups, including women.  

ILHC also promotes a cross-sectoral and holistic approach, integrating sustainability considerations to ensure long-term, reliable service provision to sectors with high socio-economic impact. Furthermore, the program facilitates internal and external collaboration to pursue global advocacy and knowledge on the enabling role of electricity for achieving the sustainable development goals. IHLC’s program activities contribute to efforts to address climate change mitigation and adaptation by enabling cleaner, renewable energy for food and water security, health and education services and promoting the energy efficiency of appliances equipment.

Our Work

The program’s expert team, consisting of consultants with multisectoral expertise, provides technical guidance using various tools. These include presentations, terms of references on the PUE and value chain market assessments, and targeted assessments on the electrification of public institutions, estimated demand, and sustainable business models. The program team has collaborated with teams from the Off-Grid Solar /Lighting Global and the Global Mini Grids Facility programs to produce a series of notes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These publications, which are expected to facilitate the operational response of the World Bank, include:

In addition, lessons learned from the design and implementation of ILHC activities are now being documented in several flagship reports and knowledge products under development: 

  • Productive Use of Electricity Toolkit analyzes the PUE ecosystem across various technologies and business environments, including poor, remote, and fragile areas.  (June/July 2022). 
  • Livewire:  Promoting Economic Impacts for Grid Electrification. The Case of Indonesia documents lessons learned from promoting PUE by the national utility with support from local NGOs (December 2021).
  • Global Assessment of Electricity in Healthcare Facilities in partnership with the World Health Organizations (WHO), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The publication supports global awareness and advocacy efforts (March 2022).
  • From Procurement to Performance: Towards a Private Sector-Led, Service-Based Model to Scale Up Sustainable Electrification of Public Institutions, a white paper prepared in collaboration with SEforAll (December 2021).

Participants in the ESMAP internship program created, in collaboration with Georgetown University, for African university students, have analyzed the ILHC portfolio. They carried out a literature review of the interventions designed by other development partners and non-governmental organizations to bring evidence on the socio-economic impacts of the electrification programs and assess sustainable business models for the electrification of public institutions.

Additional activities carried out under the ILHC program include:

  • Supporting the Access to Distributed Electricity and Lighting in Ethiopia (ADELE) project by providing advice and embedding experts in operational activities.
  • Contributing to the design of the mini grid component and electrification of public facilities under the Sierra Leone Electrification Project.
  • Informing projects supported under the COVID-19 facility such as the Afghanistan COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project, the Comoros Support to COVID-19 Vaccine Purchase and Health System Strengthening, and the South Sudan COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project. 
  • Providing recipient-executed grants to small and fragile countries with insufficient IDA resources. The grants will enable countries like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Liberia to provide electricity to priority healthcare facilities as part of the COVID-19 response efforts.
  • Contributing to the design of the electrification components of health and education facilities. This includes setting up for long-term operations and maintenance arrangements and remote monitoring to track system performance by financing public institutions assessment and bringing emerging best practices from other countries. 
  • Collaborating with other ESMAP programs (Global Facility for Mini Grids and the Off-Grid Solar/Lighting Global) to design the productive use appliance intervention across both mini grid and off-grid components. This intervention also includes the development of a performance-based incentives mechanism and analytical work to identify productive loads (horticulture, dairy, poultry, and industrial parks) suitable to serve as anchor customers for the mini grids to be built under ADELE. In addition, a results-based financing (RBF) concept will be developed to accelerate the uptake of off-grid solar standalone productive use products at the household or micro-enterprise level.
  • Implementing the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project to support the expansion to productive uses and fine-tuning the business model for mini grids.

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