A doctor in Mali demonstrates the solar panel that will provide his clinic with sustainable energy.
Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos
Access to energy is important for people’s ability to improve their lives and get out of poverty. At the same time, energy systems must be clean and sustainable, for the sake of people’s health and the environment.
1,6 billion people lack access to electricity in close proximity to their home or work today. At the same time, 40 per cent of the world’s population use wood and other biomass for cooking and heating.
Sida’s support to energy sector is consequently focusing on development and expansion of sustainable energy systems, increased use of renewable energy, energy optimisation and new technologies. Sweden shall promote a development that reduces the negative effects of energy production on environment, and at the same time increases access to sustainable energy.
The objective is to improve the lives of people living in poverty by giving them access to energy. Access to electricity means better service in schools and hospitals, better access to communication and information and greater opportunities for poor people to make a living. Sida supports programmes and projects on global, regional, national and local levels.
Having access to electricity alone is not sufficient to reduce poverty, but it is an important prerequisite and factor for social development and economic activity. For instance health clinics and hospitals with access to electricity are better able to store vaccines and take care of urgent matters such as births. This improves life and security for mainly women and children.
Another crucial factor in creating a sustainable energy sector is establishing appropriate and effective institutions and regulations. The second major part of Sida’s energy support is consequently used to support institutional reforms and improvement of laws within the energy sector.
Sida also grants loans and guarantees to different actors within the energy sector. If developing countries need to invest in large infrastructure projects, they can access capital and reduce risks on other borrowed funds through these channels.