16 Sep

The first meeting of the Advisory Board of the Sustainability, Inclusiveness and Governance of Mini-Grids in Africa (SIGMA) Project took place on the 15th September 2021. This meeting was an opportunity for project team members and members of the project Advisory Board to meet and discuss the current status of the project, future work plans and challenges, and for the Board to advise the project team on relevant future directions. 

The project Advisory Board is chaired by Dr Sanusi Ohiare, Executive Director of the Rural Electrification Fund and board member of the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria. Other board members include experts from across the world in rural electricity provision, rural energy provision, energy access, energy and gender studies and economic development through energy access. More information on the members of our Advisory Board can be found at https://www.sigma-gcrf.net/project-details/advisory-board-members 

The Project is focused on four specific African countries: Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Kenya. These nations have developing or developed mini-grid sectors for rural and urban electrification, but there is currently a lack of longitudinal studies on the effectiveness of mini-grid provision in these contexts. The Project has a number of work packages which aim to evaluate the performance of existing mini-grids and previous interventions; whether mini-grids are delivering what they promised to deliver, the current challenges that exist to provision and scaling-up, and the inclusiveness and sustainability of mini-grid interventions for communities and local development. Through case studies and data analysis, the Project will analyse performance, find best practices and success cases, determine what technological issues are present, the governance aspects that improve performance, and then how other mini-grids can learn from each other to create a better environment for rapid replication of solutions to support energy access. 

Current work is focused on a review of existing literature and compiling a database of mini-grid projects to date in the target countries. We will also begin the fieldwork component of the project soon, and mobilisation for fieldwork activities is ongoing. We are grateful for the input of the Advisory Board in this meeting, particularly for their support in reviewing documents and providing further data to the project, and their suggestions for upcoming work. 

We will shortly be producing a briefing note going into more detail about the project objectives, individual work packages, and progress to date. There is also a plan to organise a workshop in October/ November 2021 to discuss the findings from the literature review.