Expanding Access to Safe and Sustainable Electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mathematica and the Millennium Challenge Corporation Partner to Empower More African Households
Nov 16, 2017

Map of AfricaIn most sub-Saharan African countries, safe and sustainable energy practices can potentially impact economic growth and household quality of life. Yet millions of Africans live without reliable electricity. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has committed about $1.5 billion to support Power Africa, a U.S. initiative designed to establish 60 million new electricity connections and generate 30,000 megawatts of power by bringing together African governments, the private sector, and donor partners to alleviate energy poverty and generate economic growth. Mathematica Policy Research has partnered with MCC to study its energy sector investments in five developing nations.

The Liberia Energy Project is a partnership between MCC and the Government of Liberia designed to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty through increased access to affordable electricity. Mathematica evaluators are leading a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation that will explore (1) project implementation; (2) grid and utility level outcomes; (3) citizens’ willingness to pay for electricity; and (4) the project’s impact on households, businesses, and social services.

MCC’s Benin Power Compact aims to increase the capacity of domestic electricity generation and improve the quality, reliability, and stability of the electricity supply. Mathematica will evaluate several projects under this compact, including the Electricity Generation Project and the Electricity Distribution Project. Our evaluation will help MCC determine whether the projects achieve the intended goal of creating 10,000 new household electricity connections in Cotonou, Benin’s largest city.

The Ghana II Compact, a partnership between MCC and the Government of Ghana, was created to improve the quality and reliability of power distribution systems and promote energy efficiency in Ghana. Mathematica is designing and implementing rigorous evaluations of these projects. The evaluation will last 10 years, from September 2017 to September 2027.

Mathematica is evaluating the part of MCC’s compact in Malawi that is designed to provide more reliable hydroelectric power at reduced cost to households and businesses. Findings from this evaluation are expected to be released in the Fall of 2018.

As part of the Power Africa initiative, Mathematica recently completed a 10-year evaluation of MCC’s Energy Sector Project in Tanzania. This evaluation revealed that connecting households to the national electric grid might reduce poverty in Tanzania, but low connection rates make this service costly to provide. Learn more about this work at our upcoming forum:

 

Plug In, Power Up! Connecting to Grid Electricity in Africa. Register here.

  • Date and time: Wednesday, November 29, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Abstract: Mathematica will convene a panel of experts to discuss initiatives to expand grid electricity in sub-Saharan Africa and recent evidence on the possible benefits and challenges of such expansion. Panelists will discuss (1) Power Africa’s investments in the energy sector, including grid electricity; (2) successes and challenges of rural grid electrification in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa; and (3) areas where more evidence is required to inform policy decisions on investing in grid electricity.
  • Location: This event will be held at Mathematica’s Washington, DC, office and via live webinar. Lunch will be provided. For more information, email events@mathematica-mpr.com.