USAID launches geospatial tool to guide Zambia’s electricity sector
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in support of Power Africa has developed a geospatial tool to guide the advancement of the Zambia energy sector.
The USAID Southern Africa Energy Program (SAEP) collaborated with the Zambia Ministry of Energy and the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to produce the tool, which identifies areas without power and presents the lowest-cost electrification options (grid extension, developing mini-grids or installing solar home systems).
The tool demonstrates the importance of off-grid solutions in a country such as Zambia, where 27 percent of rural residents have access to power. The government of Zambia has set an ambitious goal to increase that 27 percent to 66 percent of residents, some of whom live in remote, rural areas.
Hitting this target requires 3.4 million new connections; a costly undertaking if all are to be grid connected. The geospatial tool indicates that only 34 percent of unserved households should be serviced by the grid, with off-grid solutions servicing the other 66 percent.
At a March 23, 2018 workshop in Lusaka, the Zambian government expressed optimism about using the geospatial tool on a daily basis to support electrification strategies.
A REA engineer noted that he could use the tool to explain REA decisions concerning electrification plans for various communities. Representatives of the private sector have expressed a desire to use the tool to identify marketing opportunities for solar home systems and mini-grids.
The geospatial tool is now available for public use on the following Development Clearinghouse Experience website. To access the Geospatial Model Executive Summary, click here. For assistance in using the model, contact SAEP directly.
The USAID Southern Africa Energy Program, a is a five-year, 11 country program funded by USAID in support of the U.S. Government-led Power Africa initiative. To date, Power Africa’s more than 150 private and public-sector partners have committed more than $54 billion to mobilize and organize international efforts to electrify Africa.