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2018-02-23 | project

Female microenterprise creation and business models for private sector distribution of low-cost renewable off-grid LED lighting

The overall goal of this project it to evaluate whether different business models effectively scale up the distribution of affordable renewable lighting to the poorest of the poor in developing country contexts. It also aims to evaluate the impact of empowering females in poor rural villages via participation in renewable energy enterprises and spillover effects on households’ welfare.

Across Sub-Saharan-Africa 600 million people lack basic electricity, with this projected to rise to 700 million (IEA 2013). In Rwanda, fewer than 7.7% of rural households are electrified, with most earning less than $1.25 per day and relying on dim, expensive, polluting, and harmful kerosene lamps and torches. Preliminary evidence suggests that with regards to access to renewable lights in developing contexts, in most cases the poorest of the poor are still excluded due to unaffordability. However, research on the role of both pricing and female empowerment in the renewable energy sector have been sparse.

This research project seeks to address this gap and will:

  1. Seek to understand the role of pricing and subsidies in the widespread uptake and sustained use, as well as, business sustainability for low-cost off-grid renewable LED lighting;
  2. Rigorously test new microenterprise models aimed at empowering ultra-poor rural women and spillover effects on their households;
  3. Aim to elicit behavioural preferences of entrepreneurs in low-cost off-grid renewable energy microenterprises with the focus on explaining business level outcomes in the different assigned gender microenterprise groups.