Improving energy services

Project description

Title: Improving Energy Services in the South of Mauritania
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mauritania; part of the regional ProCEAO project, which is also being carried out in Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal.
Lead executing agency: Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD)
Overall term: 2011 to 2014

Context

Conventional energy sources (wood and charcoal) are used for over 90 per cent of cooking in Mauritania. Most of the population use a simple ‘traditional’ stove made of three stones. However, 90 per cent of the energy is lost when cooking with such stoves. The time and money spent acquiring the wood is therefore literally going up in smoke. In rural areas the people who collect the wood, most of whom are women, have to walk further and further, and wood is becoming more and more expensive in the cities. The constant inhalation of smoke is leading to more cases of lung disease, and the high level of CO2 emissions is having a damaging effect on the climate. In addition, the heavy use of wood is contributing significantly to desertification in the country. The Guidimakhan region in the south of the country, one of the last regions in Mauritania in which there are still forests, is particularly badly affected

Objective

There is a sustainable improvement in access to modern and energy-efficient energy services, particularly for the poor sections of the population.

Approach

In 2009, GIZ launched a pilot project in Mauritania on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which was designed to promote the distribution of energy-efficient stoves in the Guidimakhan region. Since 2012, the project has been implemented with funds from the EU Energy Facility as part of a regional project that is also running in Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal. The subproject being carried out in Mauritania benefits from the experience gained in these other countries, where a total of around half a million energy-saving stoves have been distributed since 2006.

As well as receiving funds from the EU Energy Facility, the project is also cofinanced by the international partnership Energising Development (EnDev).

The project is training manufacturers to make energy-saving stoves. Producers are being given the skills to manufacture products of consistent quality. They are also being trained in sales strategies and general company management so that they are then able to run a profitable business. The project is helping to draw up contracts between manufacturers and sales cooperatives. It is also supporting the creation of producer groups so that manufacturers can purchase the materials that they need more easily and exchange experiences with one another.

Publicity campaigns and training courses are helping the local population to learn about energy-saving stoves and their benefits. The project is promoting awareness campaigns that explain the negative consequences of over-using wood, the health risks of open stoves and the advantages of the new technology. Courses are also being offered to show people the correct way to use these energy-saving stoves.

The project is adopting a consistent market-driven approach, which means that the energy-saving stoves are not donated to users or sold at subsidised prices. Producers should aim to build a profitable business, and users should recognise the cost benefits of energy-saving stoves. On average, users are able to recoup the cost of acquiring a stove within 15 days to three months because they need to buy much less wood. This commercial interest therefore guarantees that people will continue to produce and market energy-saving stoves.

Cooperation with local and regional state institutions ensures that the use of energy-saving technology is firmly embedded in local political discourse. Regional meetings with the other countries involved in the project encourage the exchange of information at a political level. Preparations are underway to extend the project to other countries in the region by getting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) involved in promoting it.

Results achieved so far

By December 2014, 54 manufacturers had profited from training on how to produce and market different energy-saving stoves and 3,781 stoves had been sold, thereby reaching over 41,000 people in total. On average, households buying wood fuel have saved nearly 85 Euro per year and the total saving in the region of Guidimakha have reached more than 228.000 MRO per year.

A marketing strategy for the stoves was developed. Based on an analysis of different consumer groups appropriate advertising channels and models of stove were identified for each target group.

Mauritania. Selling energy-saving stoves at the market. © GIZ

Instructors were trained in collaboration with a local training facility, and educational materials were developed. The facility also offered courses on how to produce and to sell the stoves.

An economic interest group was also established between manufacturers. It allowed them to better defend their interests and to sell 1.9000 stoves in collaboration with UNDP.

At the end of 2014, ProCEAO ended but the producers have continued to produce and sell stoves to local market.