Tanzania: Making Clean Energy to Rural Areas Accessible

Energy is an integral part for the economic growth of any nation like Tanzania that is looking forward towards becoming an industrial economy by 2025.

The Energy Access situation Report Survey of (2016) findings shows that, 32.8 percent of all households in Tanzania Mainland are electrified with some form of electricity.

Out of the electrified households, 74.9 per cent get electricity from the national grid, 24.7 per cent from solar power and 0.3 per cent of the households get electricity from private entity and individual owned sources such as generators.

The report shows that rural and urban households connected to grid electricity were 34.5 and 96.4 per cent respectively.

Dar es Salaam had the most with (99.3 percent), Rukwa (91.2 percent), Kilimanjaro (88.0 percent), Kigoma (82.4 per cent) and Arusha (81.3 per cent). Regions with less than 40 percent of their households connected to the national grid were Lindi (24.5 percent), Njombe (36.6 per cent) and Mtwara (38.9 per cent).

According to the 2016 survey results 16.9 per cent of rural households on Tanzania Mainland were connected to electricity of some form compared to 65.3 percent of their counterparts in urban areas.

But these efforts cannot be left to government alone as the sole provider, and that is why organisations like US based C.S.Mott Foundation is complementing Government efforts to increase access to clean energy in rural areas of Tanzania.

The C.S. Mott Foundation based in Flint Michigan, US has since become as active partner working with several stakeholders on a project geared toward increasing clean energy access in rural areas.

According to Mr Francis Rwebogora, the project was co-developed by CS Mott Foundation as funders and SELCO Foundation (India) as the technical advisors.

Mr. Rwebogora, the project coordinator, says "The project is designed to intervene in five thematic areas such as human resource development, access to energy financing, enterprise incubation innovation and policy support. The five pillars of the project are being implemented simultaneously to build the energy ecosystem in the country"

The project was introduced in 2017 to local energy stakeholders through a stakeholder's workshop and later conducted a needs assessment study to identify its relevance in the country. After identification of relevant local implementing partners, the project started in 2018.

"Currently the project has three implementing partners on the ground working on the three interventions. We have Don Bosco TVET, (Selesian Brothers) working on Human Resource development, IMED Foundation working on Enterprise Development and TAMFI - The Association of Micro-Finance Association working or Access to Energy Finance," says Mr Rwebogora coordinator.

Human resource development

In the human resource development CS Mott Foundation has supported the Don Bosco VTCs in Dodoma and Iringa Regions with the introduction of the solar energy course.

The project has further installed relevant equipment at their solar energy training workshops with sufficient tools and training materials to accommodate 170 students enrolled in the electrical department in both Iringa and Dodoma VTCs.

"With successful equipment installation and students training, the centre expects the trained students to be able to offer complete solar systems installation, maintenance and services to the other VTCs across the country while empowering communities through skills gained, including starting their own businesses."

As one of the experienced leading institutions in TVET in East Africa, this solar energy project has given the school and the students a competitive advantage over their counterparts in renewable energy technologies given that it is a new course hardly offered by any TVET institutions in East Africa.

Energy financing

Financial lending to energy enterprises has been a long term obstacle towards clean energy development in Tanzania.

In this area CS Mott Foundation supported TAMFI financially, to develop a program to improve capacity of the microfinance institutions to extend financing to enterprises and end users of renewable energy technologies in Tanzania, mainly targeting microfinance institutions.

Using appropriate approaches, expertise and experience, a program is rolled out to selected microfinance institutions under TAMFI membership to strengthen their institutional capacities and increase financial services offered to solar energy enterprises.

Currently, the project is in its first phase which includes conducting roundtable workshops with financial institutions, energy enterprise, policy makers, regulators and other relevant bodies.

"With successful delivery of the project, we expect to stimulate lending appetite to financial institutions and unlock financing to energy enterprises which will facilitate more solar business formation and expansion. This will lead to increased outreach of solar products to the remote areas of Tanzania and more use of solar energy for production hence improved livelihoods," says Rwebogora

Solar enterprise incubation

Through enterprise incubation the initiative aims at promoting project sustainability and ownership because it is vital to build technical and managerial capacities and business etiquettes of local energy enterprises.

In this area C.S. Mott Foundation has financially supported IMED Foundation, a local training institute to empower local enterprises.

"The success of the incubation program will produce competent energy enterprises which will eventually benefit from the unlocked finances from banks and MFIs of the TAMFI project and guaranteed qualified staff from Don Bosco's project, as the entire project is designed to work in synchronization."

During the course of the project several energy stakeholders have been sent on field visits to India for exposure and knowledge exchange.

"We have had several field visits in Iringa and Dodoma rural to identify possibilities of productive use of solar in agriculture production and processing which Mott Foundation plans to sponsor in the near future."

This energy ecosystem funded project is coordinated by Fraxen Consult Ltd, a local consulting firm and together with all energy stakeholders courtesy of C.S. Mott Foundation.

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