Enhancing Energy Security in Rural Tanzania: Examples of Decentralized Rural Energy Approaches from India.

    The Government of Tanzania is making creditable strides to scale up its renewable energy sectors. One of the initiatives includes preparation of the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP) Project document in 2013. The aim is to promote clean energy for domestic end-uses like cooking and lighting. A spectacular feature of the SREP Project is its particular consideration to scale up rural electrification. However, related efforts and strategies condone the contribution of rural communities to achieving this goal. Most of the attention and support is focused on the private sector as the core driver of rural electrification. Examples from rural India reveal that rural communities are actually the lynchpin of rural electrification. Drawing from these examples, this paper argues that decentralized electrification without local participation is unlikely to yield the desired nation-wide impact, especially for the rural communities. This suggests that the energy policy and institutional arrangements of Tanzania need to find more space for local community participation in rural electrification initiatives. Existing potentials and testimonies of community-level initiatives in spearheading rural development in Tanzania need to be exploited and utilized effectively in the realm of rural electrification.

    About the Author

    Ian Shanghvi works at the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is in charge of the Natural Resources Management portfolio and is actively involved in project development, coordination and management.

    Ian was a Visiting Fellow at the Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and United Nations Centre at the IDSA from September to December 2014. During this period he submitted this paper and another entitled "Human Security Implications of Climate Change to Sub-Saharan Africa and How India Can Assist". The latter was submitted at the March 2014 India-Africa: Building Synergies in Peace, Security and Development Conference.

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ESRFs activities are supported by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF),Think Tank Initiative of IDRC and The Foundation for Civil Society.