Working with the organisation Energy4Impact (E4I), Multiconsult is running a pilot programme to provide training and other assistance to local entrepreneurs in 74 villages in Tanzania. Access to electricity is one of the keys to enabling economic development and combating poverty. The goal is to promote the productive use of electricity in order to create jobs and stimulate the local economy.
Visiting 74 villages
Local people in the regions of Tanga and Pwani will be given the training and close support they need start a businesses and thus fully exploit the benefits of expanding the national power grid. The name of the project is “Productive Use of Electricity (PUE) in Pwani and Tanga”.
Currently an information campaign is underway involving visits to every single one of the 74 villages that were recently connected to the grid. Supported by a colourful truck packed with electrical equipment to demonstrate, the team holds a loud and stimulating workshop with all potential entrepreneurs in the village. The whole day is spent providing training in how to plan and run a business and obtain financing, as well as demonstrations of electrical equipment. Finally a video is shown to demonstrate big electrical equipment that wouldn’t fit in the truck.
Many business ideas
On 7 May this year, representatives of both the customer (the Rural Energy Agency) and the donor (the Norwegian embassy) were invited to the information day in the village of Makombe in Pwani Region. The visitors were impressed by what they saw and expressed great satisfaction with the work being done.
Fredrick Mushi, the team leader at E4I, is delighted with the feedback his team is getting both from key stakeholders and the general population of the villages:
“The level of participation and enthusiasm that we have experienced in the villages so far has far exceeded our expectations, and makes us highly optimistic about the rest of the PUE programme. People are attending our events in great numbers, they are very keen to find out more and they have lots of interesting business ideas.”
Creating new jobs
Looking ahead, E4I’s mentors will work closely with selected entrepreneurs in each village by providing training and helping them to develop business plans. The mentors will be available to the entrepreneurs for the rest of the year. By the end of 2018, the aim is to have provided training to more than 1,000 businesses and to have supported over 300 entrepreneurs. This targeted training and close support should create lots of new jobs in rural areas.
Joakim Arntsen, Multiconsult’s project manager, is satisfied with the results so far:
“It is very motivating to work with local entrepreneurs to create businesses and jobs using electricity. This is what rural electrification is all about – generating economic growth and development for the local population. In far too many projects it has been assumed that economic development will automatically follow once an area has electricity – but history shows us time and again that this is not the case. Our PUE programme is helping to lower informational and financial barriers at the same time as stimulating local economic development.