Grid Electricity Expansion in Tanzania: Findings from a Rigorous Impact Evaluation (Issue Brief)

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Mar 29, 2017
Authors
Arif Mamun, Duncan Chaplin, Ali Protik, John Schurrer, Divya Vohra, Kristine Bos, Hannah Burak, Laura Meyer, and Anca Dumitrescu

Key Findings:

  • The line extensions led to a large number of new connections, but it was less than one-third of the 35,000 connections assumed at the outset.
  • The low-cost–connection offers also increased connection rates, but even if all communities received low-cost-connection offers, the number of connections originally assumed would still not have been achieved.
  • The line extensions had no clear impacts on the overall amount of energy used by households, the number of hours children studied at night, whether the household operated any income-generating activity (IGA), non-electricity consumption, and in- or out-migration. However, line extensions increased consumption of grid electricity, ownership of electric appliances, time spent watching television, operation of an IGA that used grid electricity, and perceived household safety.
  • The low-cost–connection offers increased electricity use and ownership of electric appliances, worsened health outcomes, and had no clear impacts on the likelihood of operating an IGA, or on non-electricity consumption; however, the offers reduced poverty as measured by per capita consumption.
  • Being actually connected to the grid increased children’s hours of studying at night, but it increased TV watching much more; being connected also increased income and increased the likelihood of operating an electrified IGA and reduced poverty.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s energy-sector project was designed to promote economic growth and curb poverty in Tanzania. Mathematica conducted an evaluation of two project components: impacts of building new lines to the electricity grid; and outcomes from offering low-cost-connections to households in a subset of communities. The evaluation revealed that connecting households to the national electric grid may reduce poverty in Tanzania, but low connection rates make this service costly to provide.
Project

Tanzania Energy-Sector Impact Evaluation

Funders

Millennium Challenge Corporation

Time Frame

2008-2017

Senior Staff

Divya Vohra
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John Schurrer
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Arif Mamun
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Duncan Chaplin
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