Electric Bankers: Utility-Enabled Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa
Access to electricity can be transformational, but only if people also have access to the appliances and technologies needed for its use. Research in Sub-Saharan Africa shows that high-quality appliances are largely out of reach for poor people. Increasing ownership of electrical appliances can turn energy access into development impact by reducing drudgery, saving time, and unlocking greater economic potential. Offering financing that enables appliance ownership and higher levels of electricity demand is part of a larger shift that utilities can make toward a customer-centric, service-based approach. This paper, co-authored with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, focuses on one of the critical roadblocks to the uptake of appliances — a lack of access to consumer financing for lower income households — and explores how energy providers can close the credit gap.