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Improving Modern Energy Services for Africa’s Urban Poor 

Stephen Karekezi and Lugard Majoro

AFREPREN/FWD Secretariat,


The urban population of most sub-Saharan African countries is growing rapidly.  It is estimated that urban growth rates are almost double the national population growth rates.  As expected, urban energy consumption is growing rapidly, driven by the fast growth of urban centres. Although urban poor households in most cities of the region constitute over 50% of the total households, the provision of modern energy services to these households does not seem to be receiving the requisite attention from policy makers.  This article provides a brief overview of the urban energy sector in Africa, with special emphasis on energy services for the urban poor.  The energy consumption patterns among the urban poor households and small and micro-enterprises (SMcEs) are assessed and options for improving the provision of modern energy services to the urban poor are proposed.  The article is based on field survey studies of energy services for the urban poor undertaken in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Supporting data and information from other sub-Saharan African countries is used to validate key conclusions and recommendations.

Keywords: urban poor, urban energy, Small and Micro-Enterprises (SMcEs), Africa



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