Adopting a market-based approach to boost energy access in displaced contexts


This paper evaluates the market-based approaches adopted in the MEI projects in Kenya and Burkina Faso. It articulates how such commercial strategies can be applied to the delivery of energy in displacement settings and compares this to real world examples.

Development of long-term energy solutions in displacement settings tends to be perceived as investment that falls outside the remit of emergency responses. In addition, when emergency energy supply measures are implemented they often result in expensive, unreliable and unhealthy energy provision for those in protracted or recurrent crises. There is widespread agreement among humanitarian and development experts that an effective refugee response should include long-term development solutions as well as emergency relief.

The energy access imperative is more pronounced when considering the need for effective energy distribution in practically all camp activities and basic necessities: pumping and treatment of clean water; heating and cooling for food storage and cooking; energy for livelihood activities; and provision of light for schooling, hospitals and the prevention of violence against women and children. Minor shifts in household energy use to basic solar lighting options and non-wood fuels would save $303 million annually on refugee fuel costs. Within refugee contexts in Kenya and Burkina Faso, the MEI sought to examine opportunities to use market interventions, rather than in-kind distributions, to improve clean energy access over the long-term and test the delivery of market-based approaches.

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