Due to Tanzania’s rapid growth in electricity access over the past decade, the World Bank has approved an additional $335 million in financing to aid the country in its efforts to scale up grid extension and grid densification.
An additional 1,000,000 last-mile grid connections, including 8,500 educational facilities and 2,500 healthcare facilities, as well as renewable energy options and clean cooking solutions for rural households, will be made possible by a new International Development Association (IDA) credit to the Tanzania Rural Electrification Expansion Program (TREEP).
“Expanding access to modern forms of energy is a key component of the Government of Tanzania’s long-term economic growth plan,” said Preeti Arora, acting World Bank Country Director. “Over the past five years, with your help, we’ve been able to bring power to over 4.5 million people, including 5,900 schools, 1,664 hospitals, and 14,316 businesses”.
On May 31, 2016, IDA approved $209 million in initial financing for TREEP, and on March 17, 2017, the program went live. By linking funding disbursement directly to the delivery of defined results and achievement of objectives like increasing the supply of renewable electricity in rural areas, increasing the number of people with access to electricity in rural areas, and bolstering the capacity of sector institutions, TREEP has supported the government’s National Rural Electrification Program (NREP).
Although Tanzania has made great strides to increase electricity access, going from 7% in 2011 to 38% in 2020, there is still a wide gap between the access rates in urban and rural areas, as well as between national grid coverage (78.4%) and the overall access/connectivity rate (38%). Leveraging the lessons learned from the Prospectus 2013-22’s implementation, the NREP has released its new Rural Energy Master Plan 2022-30, which lays out a strategy to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.
“The historical emphasis on backbone grid extensions resulted in the national grid reaching 78% of villages, but remained out of connection distance for most households,” said Jenny Hasselsten, World Bank Senior Energy Economist and Task Team Leader for TREEP. ” With these new funds, TREEP hopes to connect an additional 15% of Tanzania’s currently unconnected citizens to the grid, raising the country’s access rate from 38% to 45%”.
A $6 million grant from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) helps to fund TREEP’s expansion. TREEP will help get more people connected to the grid, but it will also test out new ways to finance renewable energy and clean cooking appliances for people in rural areas. To help the Ministry of Energy keep track of projects and encourage cooperation among government agencies and stakeholders, TREEP will also support annual sector capacity-building plans and the design and implementation of a sector-wide monitoring and evaluation framework.
In spite of recent progress in the use of modern fuels, firewood and charcoal are still the primary cooking fuels for the vast majority of households in Tanzania, according to Mbuso Gwafila, World Bank Senior Energy Specialist and Co-TTL. ” A lot of people are dying young or not working as much because of the effects of exposure to this, and it’s also causing a lot of deforestation and other problems.”