Foster Adoption and Productive Use of Electricity: A Cluster Randomized Policy Roll-out in Rural Rwanda
The extension of rural electrification can help to improve the capacity of vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change through income diversification and increased productivity. In Rwanda, the Electricity Access Roll-Out Program (EARP) has been remarkably effective in extending electricity lines all over the country. Between 2009 and 2017, the national electrification rate increased from 6 to 41 percent. Yet, in many areas now served by the electricity grid, connection rates are only modest and consumption levels remain low.
Against this background, the Rwandan government is piloting a project, the Scaling up Energy Access Project (SEAP), that offers tailored one-time grants of US$200-400 per grant for productive appliances combined with training to connected households and microenterprises. The aim of these post-electrification grants and trainings is to maximize the benefits of on-grid electrification through the provision of complementary inputs, and ultimately, to increase the resilience of people in rural areas against climate change by ensuring income diversification. This project evaluates the impact of SEAP using a clustered-randomized controlled trial. The results of our study will inform policy measures to increase access to clean energy for low-income households and foster their capacity to adapt to climate change.