Benin Energy Compact Evaluation

Prepared for
Millennium Challenge Corporation
electrical lines in African landscape

To address the energy sector challenges facing Benin, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has partnered with the Government of Benin to implement the Benin Power Compact from 2017 to 2022, which will also support the Power Africa initiative—a U.S. government effort to increase the number of people with access to electric power in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of the Benin Power Compact is to improve electricity infrastructure and remove energy poverty as a constraint to household well-being, business production and productivity, and the delivery of public services.

Mathematica is conducting an evaluation of the Electricity Generation Project, which will rehabilitate, expand, or construct a hydropower plant, thermal generation units, and solar plants, and the Electricity Distribution Project, which aims to strengthen the grid through upgrades; repairs; and the installation of new switchgears, lines, and connections. As part of the electricity distribution project, 10,000 new household connections are expected to be provided in Cotonou, Benin’s largest city. These projects are designed to increase the capacity of domestic electricity generation and improve the quality, reliability, and stability of the electricity supply. In turn, these improvements should reduce the gap between electricity supply and demand, increase access to quality electricity, increase density of connections to the electric grid; reduce reliance and expenditures on costlier sources of energy; and expand and increase productivity in households, businesses, and public services. 

Mathematica's evaluability assessment will gauge whether the problems that the electricity projects are designed to address were appropriately diagnosed, whether the theory of change clearly maps out how the projects’ components will result in expected benefits, and whether assumptions underlying the program logic are reasonable. Following the evaluability assessment, we will refine the research questions, assess appropriate and feasible evaluation methodologies, and develop a timeline for implementing the evaluation. We expect the ensuing evaluation to involve a comprehensive mixed-methods approach that addresses several research questions through rigorous impact evaluations while addressing the remaining research questions through analyses that incorporate quantitative and qualitative data. Our proposed evaluation will make use of high frequency/high volume grid data, an unusual opportunity to use Big Data to support evaluation in West Africa.