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World Bank Energy Roadmap Focuses on Energy Poverty

According to a recent report led by the World Bank, 1.2 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, and 2.8 billion people are still dependent on using wood (or other biomass) for cooking and heating.

That’s a staggering statistic, considering how simple, cheap, and accessible energy is in the developed world. But just as lack of wealth, assets, and opportunity keep people in poverty, lack of a viable and affordable energy source keeps people in ‘energy poverty’.

“We cannot end extreme poverty without tackling energy poverty. The low access rate in these countries is both a cause and result of poverty.

Change will require investment, knowledge sharing, and a long-term, collaborative effort with governments and development partners.”

- S. Vijay Iyer, Director of the World Bank Group’s Sustainable Energy Department

To help change that, the World Bank Group is launching a global program that can help countries attain universal access to energy for their citizens. The Sustainable Energy for All Technical Assistance Program (S-TAP), initially funded by $15 million USD from the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), will begin to implement the program across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The first five countries in the program, Burundi, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique and Senegal, all suffer from very low rates of energy access, and in some places less than 2% of the population have access to the grid.

The support program will include a detailed action plan for each country, along with a prospectus of projects that could facilitate the expansion of energy access and offer solutions for cleaner heating and cooking. It’s expected that by delivering proposals for investment-ready projects (with feasibility studies), the program can help to garner further funding from the private sector.

This energy roadmap aims to lay out a clear roadmap for each country, with the goal of achieving universal energy access for their citizens by 2030.

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