Primary data collected from the field during the Nigeria country study was used to test the validity of four hypotheses: Clean and affordable energy services are important for good physical well being and productivity of household members; Social networks and relationships facilitate access to energy services; Clean and affordable energy services are a key factor in sustainability of livelihoods by increasing viability of existing enterprises and enabling establishment of new ones; Energy sector reforms lead to improved access to clean and affordable energy services by enterprises. Four communities in two cities were chosen for the study through a multi stage sampling technique. Two of the communities, Ilaje and Amukoko are located in Lagos, an old urban settlement, while the other two, Kwali and Karmo are located in Abuja, a new and merging urban settlement.
The Nigerian government is currently implementing public sector reform programmes geared towards reducing poverty, eradicating corruption, and empowering the private sector to become the engine for economic growth in Nigeria. This reform initiative called the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) has identified the deregulation of the downstream oil sector a key aspect of the reform programme. The commercialisation and privatisation of the energy sector will make energy products more readily available to enterprises, albeit at a higher price, at least in the short run. The consequence of this for the poor in terms of access to energy services is most likely to be negative. Nevertheless, our findings revealed that energy sector reforms should lead to improved access to clean and affordable energy services by enterprises if transparently implemented. All that is needed is to initiate pro-poor initiatives that would enable the poor to improve their lot by having access to these cleaner and more efficient energy sources than hitherto available to them. In addition, focused educational programmes would need to be implemented to raise people's awareness about the comparative advantages of more efficient energy sources than fuel wood and create opportunities for their wide adoption.