Rural Electrification Projects in Tanzania

There are two major objectives of Tanzania’s rural energy strategy. Firstly, modern energy including electricity, modern biomass technology and other alternative modern energy sources, must be harnessed to promote rural productive uses such as job creation, stimulation of investment and revenue earnings. Secondly, access to modern energy must be availed to key rural services, particularly in the health, education, security and water sectors.

In Tanzanian context, rural electrification encompasses electrification of the district headquarters, townships, villages, and commercial centers. The government view rural electrification as a key input in enhancement of growth and economic development of the country and thus addresses it in the framework of poverty reduction (URT, 2003; ESRF, 2006). Unfortunately the impact of the policy has not reached the grass root level. To a large extent, the present level of rural electrification in Tanzania is an outcome of the policies adopted by colonial and early post independence governments rather than the present day policy which encompass public private partnership.

According to current National Energy Policy of the United Republic of Tanzania, the goal of the rural electrification is widespread improvement of standard of living of the rural population thus attaining balanced socio-economic growth for all Tanzanians. Underpinning the policy objective is the issue of poverty alleviation, social development and environmental conservation objectives.

Small scale Industries, agricultural-processing industries and other income generating activities are given primary importance in planning rural programs. In order to accelerate social development in rural areas, schools, education institutions, heath facilities water supply, communication and community centers are targets of rural electrification projects. In addition, rural electrification has an objective of conservation of environment to avoid deforestation, climate change, air pollution (indoor & outdoor) and land degradation. Agro-industries that are located mostly in rural areas have an important role in the development of surrounding rural communities.