Access and affordability of electricity in developing countries

A key objective of developing countries is to provide affordable access to modern energy services in order to support economic and social development. The paper presents a number of arguments for why and in which way energy access and affordability can play a key role in national development programs and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Approaches for measuring accessibility and affordability are presented, drawing on case studies of Bangladesh, Brazil, and South Africa, countries with different rates of electrification. Affordability of using electricity is examined in relation to the energy expenditure burden for households and time consumption. Conclusions focus on lessons learned and recommendations for implementing policies, instruments, and regulatory measures to tackle the challenge of affordability.