Special Research Topic
Poverty and Development

Project: Electricity access through village grids in rural Senegal – Sustainability success factors and the role of micro-finance

Project Duration

01/2019 - 04/2020 (current)

Commissioned by

World Bank

Project Team (RWI)

Prof. Dr. Jörg Peters, Julian Rose, Michael Toman (World Bank)


The lack of access to electricity hampers economic development and the provision of public services like health care and schooling. However, a number of well-identified studies have recently shown that electrification does not automatically lead to economic development. It is often argued that it is the absence of complementary services such as the availability of formal micro-credits that impedes higher and especially productive electricity consumption. Based on a randomized controlled trial (RCT) we investigate whether access to micro-finance increases the intensive margin of adoption. Additionally, this study analyzes determinants of the sustainability of decentralized village grids. High hopes are pinned to this technology as it walks the line between high-power but expensive grid extensions and low-cost off-grid solar technologies. Yet, most mini-grid programs in Africa have failed. This project seeks to understand the reasons and derive recommendations to shape more promising schemes in the future.

Selected project related publications

Discussion Papers


Peters, J., M. Sievert and M. Toman (2018), Rural Electrification through Mini-Grids: Challenges Ahead. Ruhr Economic Papers #781. RWI. DOI: 10.4419/86788909 download