Three West African countries – Benin, Mali and Togo – have participated in the project ‘Energy, Ecodevelopment and Resilience in Africa (EERA)’, which offers lessons to other countries on approaches that can be taken toward a ‘Smart Energy Path’. This strategy aims to meet peoples’ energy needs in an environmentally sustainable, resilient way, and is guided by a participatory decision-making process.
The governments of Mali, Benin and Togo place a high priority on providing collective energy services: energy that delivers health and education benefits and clean water to society. They prioritise these services over the provision of household energy, because collective energy services play an important role in development and poverty alleviation.
However, they have been slow to promote renewable energy as a way of increasing their societies’ access to energy. The lack of recent, reliable data on renewable energy, energy efficiency and the vulnerability of the energy sector to climate change is no excuse for inaction.
All three countries are decentralising power to subnational governments. They must ensure that their institutional and regulatory frameworks define and reinforce the role of these decentralised authorities in energy policies and programmes.
The key to defining reasonable timeframes and priorities for national energy policy and programmes is to involve sectors beyond the energy sector, such as health, education, decentralisation and development, in decision-making committees.
Labrlet, M.; Flebig, C.; Labrousse, M. INSIDE STORY: Smart Energy Pathways in Benin, Mali and Togo. HELIO International, Paris, France (2015) 6 pp.