Does household electrification supercharge economic development?


Published 27.05.20
Photo credit:
Morgana Wingard/USAID

To what extent do the poorest rural households in sub-Saharan Africa benefit from residential electrification investments?

UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) seven targets access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. At the country level we see a clear correlation between access to electricity and GDP per capita. And yet, the existing literature is sparse when it comes to residential electrification causing individual households to thrive. In this VoxDev talk, Edward Miguel discusses new research into the effects of rural electrification in Kenya. Fascinatingly, the researchers find that the majority of households were not benefiting in the short and medium term from the electrification investments. This does not mean that these investments will never make sense, rather that they are arguably premature in the world’s poorest rural communities.