Articles and Analysies
How to Overcome Energy Poverty in South Sudan BY Amogpai Ater
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Oct 7, 2010 - 8:40:39 AM

How to Overcome Energy Poverty in South Sudan


It is an alarming fact that today there are still millions of southern Sudanese without access to electricity or clean cooking facilities. The ambitious goals that have to eradicate extreme poverty can never be fully realised without acknowledging and confronting this fact. In addition, the southern Sudanese people should be aware of the close relationship between development and access to modern energy services. Access to modern energy services for south Sudan is defined as household access to electricity and clean cooking facilities. Cooking facilities include clean cooking fuels and stove, advanced biomass cookstoves and biogas systems. To help support action and policy making in this area, the South Sudan Energy Agency (SSEA) should be established.


The mandate of this agency is two-fold: to promote energy security amongst people of south Sudan and to advice on energy policy. Thus, SSEA should have to pool its resources and expertise to produce reports about energy progress in south Sudan each year. Southern Sudanese policy-makers need hard, qualitative information and analysis to help to make critical decisions regarding the welfare of its citizens. With this in mind, the number of people that lack access to modern energy services in south Sudan can be quantified and the investment costs required meeting this gap.


Two indicators of energy poverty at the household level in south Sudan are realised: the lack of access to electricity and the reliance on the traditional use of biomass for cooking. Roughly, in south Sudan the electrification rate is 10% and the number of people relying on the traditional use of biomass 90%: this is the greatest challenge. It should be put in mind that these figures are based on my own estimations and experience as researcher in energy sources. It is expected that the number of southern Sudanese relying on biomass will rise in the coming two decades. Linked to this estimation, household air pollution from the use of biomass in inefficient stoves would lead to premature deaths.  


Addressing these inequities depends upon southern Sudanese ambitious people that projected situation is intolerable, a commitment to effect the necessary change, and getting targets and indicators to monitor progress. A new financial, institutional and technological framework is required, as is capacity building in order to scale access to modern energy services in south Sudan. A monitoring tool, the Energy Development Index (EDI) can be provide that ranks south Sudan states in their progress toward modern energy access. 


The goal of eradicating extreme poverty in the coming decades in south Sudan will not be achieved unless substantial progress is made on improving energy access. To meet the goal, an additional millions people need to be provided with electricity and clean cooking facilities. All this will require an investment which is not yet available in the near future.



Author is a Sudanese based in Finland and he can reach at [email protected]


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