Tanzania & Microfinance Power – ACCION Ambassadors Blog the World – June 8, 2011

> Posted by Center Staff
Tanzania, India, Mexico, and beyond – ACCION International’s Ambassadors are in the thick of it, jotting down notes about the industry as they observe events on the ground. We’re following these volunteers’ reports via their dedicated blog. We’ll be keeping you in the loop with occasional cross-posts.
While there are too many good posts already to showcase them all, Jason Loughnane‘s look at microfinance and access to electricity in Tanzania stands out to us. Perhaps that’ s because his post on Akiba’s new loans sheds light on a program that bears a passing resemblance to Energy Links.
Loughnane’s June 6 post introduces the story as follows:
Only 14 percent of Tanzanians have electricity in their homes. Akiba thinks that is unacceptable, and has designed a way to help.
On Friday I attended the official launch of Akiba’s Umeme (Electricity) Loan, which seeks to help expand the accessibility of power to Tanzania’s poor.
While electricity in Tanzania is generally inexpensive, the costly hardware needed to connect a household to the power grid is not provided by the electric companies. A new connection can run about 500,000 Tanzanian Shillings, or around $320, while monthly electric power costs only about $15 for a small house.
This initial upfront cost is prohibitively expensive for low-income customers. Many of them connect to the power grid illegally, climbing utility poles and stripping the cables bare to connect a wire and run it directly to their houses. It is not uncommon to see live wires dangling dangerously in the middle of crowded streets.
Read the rest of Loughnane’s post, and check out the other Ambassadors’ reports, by clicking here.
Image credit: bdesham

Have you read/listened to?

Energy Links Podcast Series
Artisanal Solar Lamps
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From Waste to Energy
Why Are Engineers Interested in Microfinance?