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The PRODUSE Study: Impact of Productive Use of Electricity in Benin, Ghana and Uganda

Electrification practitioners often emphasise the need for productive use of energy (PUE) to enhance the incomes of home businesses and enterprises. However, systematic evidence of the relationship between access to electricity and poverty alleviation is scarce, and there is virtually no rigorous evaluation of electrification interventions particularly in Africa. 

To fill this gap between the practitioners’ perception and the lack of robust evidence, GIZ and ESMAP developed a methodology for evaluating the impact of electrification on micro, small and medium enterprises and tested it in Benin, Ghana and Uganda. The results are presented in the study ‘Productive Use of Energy (PRODUSE) – Measuring Impacts of Electrification on Small and Micro-Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa’ (www.produse.org/study/). The study shows that proper usage of statistical techniques is required for deriving solid findings on PUE impacts and has demonstrated that methodological rigour is possible despite limited project budgets. 

The findings show that electricity usage hardly translated into higher profits. These rather sobering results were contrasted with some evidence indicating that electrification can lead to the creation of new firms that generate additional income and lead to development in the project regions. Small service and manufacturing firms now offer goods and services that were previously unavailable locally or imported from other regions. Furthermore, in some cases, larger firms were attracted to a region because it has electricity. 

Since the three investigated cases are not representative of the various settings of electrification projects, it is too early to draw conclusions on the nexus between electrification, productive use and development impacts. The authors therefore encourage development practitioners and policy-makers to use rigorous evaluation methodologies like the one used for PRODUSE to build a growing body of knowledge about the real impact of PUE in developing countries. 

Those who are interested in conducting a similar study can make use of the ‘PRODUSE Impact M&E Guide’ that presents the process of designing and conducting a PUE impact evaluation study step by step.

Download here the full study
More information on the promotion and evaluation of PUE is available at www.produse.org 

Lucius Mayer-Tasch is working as an energy adviser for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).


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