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"Energy for all" - but what are we waiting for?

Among the objectives to contribute to the Emergence of Madagascar is, under a vision of access to energy for all in connection with the global efforts of MDG 7, "achieve a rate of access to electricity of at least 50% of the population by 2023.

The latest statistical census confirms that the majority of the population in Madagascar is rural, at 80%. Without the need for an intense intellectual effort, one would expect that substantial efforts would be made to significantly increase the rate of rural electrification in the country, which has hovered around 5% for several years. 
However, there is no indication that this is the case.

Large-scale renewable energy projects aimed mainly at supplying the electricity grid and therefore urban areas are regularly highlighted, as are efforts to put an end to the setbacks of Jirama, which mainly supplies urban areas. Without questioning the relevance of these commendable efforts that must be pursued and on which it is necessary to persist given the time it takes, the question remains and remains: when will the majority of the population, living in rural areas, benefit from the advantages of electricity, and while we are on the subject of delays, from electricity coming from a renewable energy production? what are we waiting for exactly? are we counting on the theoretical hypothesis of a satisfied urban population that will lead to the development of electricity in rural areas? The explanations given are "business", "financial return on investment", "priority interests", "political stakes of cities"... 
In short, "it is not important"! 

If it were, we would not be here, after several years, waiting for the adoption of the decree allowing the operationalization of the National Sustainable Energy Fund to support rural electrification. If it were, we would see significant financial support from the State and its partners for Barefoot College type programs, with a strong social component and more than interesting "returns in terms of impact on investment". If it were, we would not be distributing free solar kits without knowing if it will still work tomorrow and if the beneficiary, in economic difficulty, did not prefer to sell it. Of course, working for rural electrification presents multiple challenges, if only related to the geographical dispersion, the low purchasing power compared to cities, ... is this a sufficient reason to consider the 80% as "unimportant" when many off-grid solutions exist and only need to be strengthened, supported and scaled up?

Citizens of the urban world, we hear you: "Ny aty ary tsy ampy . To which a fervent promoter of energy efficiency would answer: "Mila maharitra kely, sady mila mahay mitsitsy izay misy". This is very nice, but it would also be appropriate to facilitate and promote savings in electricity consumption at the level of everyone, be it a household, a company or a public administration. What else is expected in this regard, knowing that it is a win-win situation, considering the financial savings for the consumer in particular? The measures to be implemented are known, if only in relation to lighting. Why don't we adopt them? What are we afraid of, losing our energy-guzzling lamp business? Why shouldn't we switch to something better for everyone and especially for future generations?

"And there was light", for everyone and for a long time...

Randriambola Voaharina, Senior Officer - Extractive Industries and Energy Access
WWF Madagascar