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Energy access among the urban poor in Kenya

Stephen Karekezi, John Kimani, and Oscar Onguru  



The primary objective of the study is to carry out an assessment of the current status of modern
energy supply among the urban and peri-urban poor in Kenya and to identify viable policy options
that can assist in providing cleaner and more sustainable energy services to the rapidly growing
urban population in Kenya. The study also assesses prevailing energy policies that address the
challenges associated with supply of modern energy services to the urban poor. The study focuses
on the example of energy consumption patterns of urban poor households in Kibera – often said
to be Africa’s largest slum – and the trends in energy use among small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) in the area, providing an empirical basis for key findings of the study.
The findings of the household survey clearly demonstrate the role that kerosene, electricity,
biomass and LPG can play in cooking and lighting in low-income areas such as Kibera, Nairobi.
According to the survey findings, kerosene is the most important modern energy option for the poor
for both lighting and cooking. Electricity also appears to be a relatively important energy option.
Biomass in the form of charcoal and LPG appear to be consumed by a relatively small segment of
the urban poor in the selected sample area. The results of this survey largely reflect the situation
at the national level.

The study concludes by presenting central issues related to identified key energy options for the
poor in Kibera (kerosene, electricity, biomass and LPG) and presents policy measures that could
enhance modern energy services among the urban poor.

Keywords:urban poor, energy access, Kenya, Africa, kerosene, electricity, biomass, LPG, households,



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