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WIREs Energy Environ.
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The potential of performance targets (imihigo) as drivers of energy planning and extending access to off‐grid energy in rural Rwanda

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Rwanda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Sub‐Saharan Africa and ambitious targets of boosting energy access, with an encouraged private sector involvement. However, barriers such as end‐user awareness and participation in policy and business model design prohibit the pace of rural electrification. A case of Rwanda is analyzed, pointing to the potential of the imihigo (performance contracts) framework. Given the adoption of household‐level performance contracts, which can include energy access, it is proposed they could drive local participation among off‐grid communities. Results of a survey with 218 users of Solar Home Systems in North‐Western Rwanda and from five focus groups show that village‐level energy targets impact on the prioritization of energy target setting among households. Including off‐grid energy options in the imihigo booklets distributed to households could influence awareness raising and allow private sector providers to act in a more targeted way, prioritizing areas with most prevalent energy targets. Additionally, community meetings (umuganda) tied to imihigo offer participatory spaces for information and feedback sharing. These will assist in the design of energy planning and business models, which best fit local needs and respond to the challenges faced by the energy poor. This article is categorized under: Energy and Development > Climate and Environment Energy Policy and Planning > Economics and Policy
A simplified visualization of Rwanda's multilevel imihigo framework. There should be a two‐way interaction between the setting of imihigo at top and bottom level of the administrative ladder. However, as shown in Section 3, there appears to be a breakdown in the bottom‐up influence of HH priorities on higher level agendas, hence the dashed arrow lines
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The imihigo yearly process as reported by the participants of focus groups
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Energy imihigo at village and household level
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Umudugudu‐level energy imihigo at the time customers purchased SHSs and now (July–September 2016)
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Percentage of interviewed BBOXX customers whose households had energy imihigo versus those who did not have them at the time of purchasing a SHS. Four percent did not have household‐level imihigo at all at the time (i.e., they were not using the imihigo framework at all in their households)
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Location of the 97 in‐household interviews (marked by pins) and 169 phone interviews (demarcated by the Province border lines)
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Rwanda Energy Group Imihigo 2016–2017. An example of institutional imihigo outlining electrification plans for 2016–2017 through both on‐grid and off‐grid connections with an explicit incorporation of partnerships with the private sector for off‐grid energy provision. Source: adapted from GoR (). RWF1000 = USD1.19 (Exchange rate from October 10, 2017)
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Energy Policy and Planning > Economics and Policy
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