Poverty-oriented basic energy supply


Most people in developing countries produce energy from biomass, which affects the environment and human health.


Turning on the lights, cooking food or listening to the radio - what is taken for granted in industrialised countries is only possible for a few people in developing countries. The mostly poor population lacks access to energy, even for the most important things in daily life. Without energy you cannot prepare food, heat rooms, boil drinking water or call an ambulance in an emergency. Health stations need electricity to operate medical equipment and cool medicines. Students can only learn in the evening when there is light. In addition, energy is a prerequisite for farms to produce and thus create jobs and income. Development is difficult without a sustainable basic energy supply.


About a quarter of the world's population has no electricity. Candles, batteries or diesel generators provide light or make simple electrical appliances run for a few hours. In many rural areas, due to geographical conditions, sparsely populated areas or serious poverty, it is not possible to supply electricity through national grids in the long term. And even where electricity grids already exist, many families cannot afford the connection. A secure and reliable electricity supply, even for poorer or rural households, is still a long way off for many countries.


2.7 billion people cook and heat with energy from biomass, i.e. wood, charcoal, dung or agricultural waste. In most African countries, around 90 percent of households cover their daily energy needs with biomass. In rural areas, biomass is usually the only available source of energy. Cooking at traditional fireplaces leads to extreme smoke pollution due to inefficient combustion. Women and children in particular therefore suffer from respiratory diseases. Every year, more than 1.5 million people die as a result. In addition, deforestation leads to erosion and desertification of entire regions and fuel becomes scarce.


For 30 years, GIZ has been supporting the dissemination of adapted solutions for the energy supply of different users. In the last twelve years alone, ten million efficient stoves have been successfully produced and marketed with the help of GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). They save up to 40 percent of previously consumed biomass and produce very little smoke compared to traditional stoves. Small solar plants and small hydropower plants also help to cover the basic energy needs of households, social institutions and small businesses. However, an improved energy supply through new or more efficient technologies must always be adapted to the needs and capabilities of the users. This is the only way to ensure long-term success.