May 6, 2021 – A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to encourage decentralized electrification through biomass power plants as part of efforts to improve rural women’s empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire.
The team brought together around 25 policy stakeholders and advisors, academics, and representatives of civil society and journalists for the discussion. Government attendees included representatives of the Ministries of Planning and Development (MPD), of Women, Families and Children (MFFE), of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESRS), and of National Education and Literacy (MENA), as well as the National Agency to Support Rural Development (ANADER). Representatives of national and international organisations working for women’s empowerment and rural development also attended.
The PEP team presented findings and recommendations from their PEP project that investigated Promoting biomass energy: A solution to empower rural women in Côte d’Ivoire. See PEP Policy Brief 232 for policy analysis and recommendations (in French).
Team members explained that access to electricity improves living conditions for rural households, mainly through women who can increase their time spent on income-generating activities, having saved time on household tasks. However, implementing the national rural electrification program—PRONER (Programme National d’Électrification Rurale)—in remote areas entails high costs, especially in communities of fewer than 500 inhabitants. The PEP team showed how off-grid biomass power plants can offer the same advantages as grid electrification for rural households and especially for women, but at a much lower cost.
Those in attendance recognised the importance of the team’s findings. The Vice-President of the Senate committed to sharing the results with the Senate, and the Chief of Staff for the MFFE stated he would share these results with the Minister.
Journalists from Radio Côte d’Ivoire, Soir Info—a daily newspaper—and the national public television station RTI (from 09:16, in French) reported from the event, raising the profile of the team’s results and recommendations among the general public.
The research team organized the event with financial and advisory support from PEP.