Abstract for:The merry-go-round of electrification programmes: potential pitfalls when only using electricity access as indicator for electrification

Although massive financial resources are spent every year for increasing the electrification rate worldwide, the current path of global electrification is experiencing recurring unsuccessful outcomes, resulting in the implementation of unreliable power systems and unaffordable electricity services. In our work, we relied on system dynamics to conceptualise this issue. We constructed an influence diagram to show the interconnection of the identified variables and relationships, in order to help to understand the behaviour of the electric power sector in developing countries.

We found that relying on the number of connections as an indicator for assessing electrification programmes generates a reinforcing dynamics, which supports the exploitation of financial resources for just increasing the electrification rate, but leading to unsustainable and unsuccessful long-term outcomes on local communities.

Our qualitative results allowed us to set some potential action aimed at setting more comprehensive electrification processes, using available financial resources in an integrated manner, and supporting evaluation frameworks that considers the multi-dimensionality of electricity access.