Zambia: Household Energy Demand and Use

This country synthesis report is based on a detailed country report, which may be accessed through our dynamic report builder is available here.


A Household Energy Demand and Use
B Household Energy Supply
C Household Energy Sector Governace
D Household Energy Information

C. Household energy sector governance

C.1 introduction

Zambia's current macroeconomic framework covers the period 2001-2003 and is supported by the World Bank, IMF, and other bilateral partners .The country is now working on a new programme for the period 2002-2004 with the following envisage macroeconomic indicators: a) An annual GDP growth rate of 4.3% in 2002 and 4.0% In 2003 and 2004 and 4.5% in 2005 b) Improve the country's external sector's viability . One key aspect which has been identified is that energy usage and poverty levels are directly related. Low-income households, for example tend to rely on a different set of energy carriers than do the rich. People living in abject poverty depend on wood, dung and other biomass fuels and use less conventional energy sources, such as electricity. Indoor air pollution, which is a major by-product of traditional energy sources, diminishes the quality of life, especially for women and children. Actions to raise the standards of household energy provision thus form part of this framework.

C.2 Household energy sector governance structure

In Zambia, the Ministry of Energy and Water Development is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the energy policy, including biomass, whilst the Energy Regulation Board is responsible for regulating matters within the energy sector

The Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for the formulation of policy on forestry and the environment. The Ministry deals with forestry management and conservation and works hand in hand with the Ministry of Energy on issues of biomass especially on the energy supply side. Health aspects are the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.

Generation and distribution of electricity in Zambia is done by ZESCO, which is a public electricity utility. ZESCO enjoys monopoly in the electricity sector. Kariba North Bank Company, a power generating entity, has been separated from ZESCO and is operating as an Independent Power Producer (IPP). The government still owns the IPP.

However, the government does not manage firewood supply. Rather communities collect firewood or buy firewood from an unregulated market. Sources of wood include: Natural forests, village woodlots, public woodlands, and smallholder farms. Whereas people in rural areas depend on the natural forest resources for their wood supplies, those in urban areas rely on wood vendors. Wood is cut from natural forests and transported by trucks to urban areas.

Charcoal production, trade and use is an industry in excess of ?100 Million per annum in Zambia. Studies done in 1995 put the figure at $49 Million and estimated consumption figures to increase from 0.7 Million tonnes in 1985 to 0.9 Million tonnes in the year 2000. The industry is not managed by any government structure. The industry is in the hands of the informal sector where the government has very limited control.

The Ministry of Energy and Water Development, through the private sector, are responsible for the availability of kerosene in the country. LPG is commercially available at BOC Gases and other gas companies in Zambia.The government arranges for the importation of spiked crude oil, which is refined in Ndola at the INDENI Refinery, and kerosene and LPG are two of the finished products. There is a fairly well established kerosene distribution network that the oil marketing companies have established, but the structure for the supply of LPG has not been adequately developed.

C.3 Government policies/programmes

Zambia's energy sector is dominated by reliance on biomass fuels like firewood and charcoal .as a modern source; electricity is natural choice for the country as there is usually excess production capacity in the order of 450MW. Further the bulk of the electricity production potential, which is mainly, hydro ­based, has not been exploited. The current electricity access nation wide is 20%. In terms of access by residence status, only 48% of the urban population and 2% of the rural population had access to electricity in 1998. The household sector is dominated by firewood and charcoal as the main sources of energy. Reliance on these traditional fuels arises from the high poverty levels .the poverty levels in turn make it difficult for households to make the transition from traditional to modern energy sources. The main focus of government programmes between now and 2010 is therefore to increase access to modern energy services
  • Increase urban electricity access from 48% in 1998 to 70% by 2010
  • Increase rural electricity access from 2%in 1998 to 15% by 2010
  • Reduce household charcoal consumption by 30,000 tonnes annually
  • Increase the number of households with solar home systems from 400 in2002 to 20,000 by 2010.
  • Promote increased use of solar energy in rural schools and rural health centres
  • Find a viable alternative to charcoal as an urban household fuel
(ENERGY & POVERTY IN ZAMBIA A strategy for survival A paper presented at the energy and poverty conference. Addis Ababa, 23-25 October 2002 Hon.Kaunda Lembalemba October 2002)

The government is running a rural electrification project, which aims at extending the supply of electricity in rural areas. The funds are generated from a levy charged on every electricity unit billed. The project has not been successful because not all the funds meant for rural electrification are deposited in the rural electrification fund. However, even if all the funds were used on rural electrification, the funds would not be adequate to increase the national electrification rate from 20% to 35% by the year 2010 as targeted by government.

The project has concentrated on extending the national grid, and this has disadvantaged those living far from the grid. To attract more funds, the government is planning to set up a Rural Electrification Agency, which will be managed by independent management and will promote private sector participation. It is hoped that some donors will finance some of the projects

The problem is further exacerbated by electricity becoming expensive .This is because the value of the local currency against the dollar is a variable in the tariff setting formula. This is as a result of restructuring of the electricity market, which has compelled government to stop, subsidising the tariffs.

Fuel substitution efforts by the government were made for kerosene use for cooking. The government, through cross subsidies, has promoted this through the sale of petroleum products. However there has been no deliberate policy by government to promote LPG as a fuel substitute for charcoal and wood.

As with other petroleum products, distribution of LPG is formalised due to the need for safety precautions. This requires the few LPG distributors and retailers to have licences before they are allowed to sell LPG.

There have been individual efforts for some years to promote the use of biogas, solar home systems, and small hydro. These efforts have been targeted at remote rural areas, which are not likely to be reached by grid electricity in the medium to long term. Recently, new and more organised renewable energy programmes are being initiated by the Government with the support of several donors. To date, however, there have been no government programmes on low-smoke fuels.

C.4 Summary and conclusions

The Zambian government is committed to a programme of modernisation which will address some of the key environmental and health issues which currently maintain those with low incomes within the poverty trap. The standard poverty-alleviation strategies-macroeconomic growth, human capital investment and income re-distribution-do not address poverty as it relates to energy. If patterns of energy use result in adverse effects on nutrition, health, productivity and the environment, for example, benefits in economic growth are likely to be absorbed only very slowly by poor people. In contrast, programmes that focus directly on creating opportunities for poor people to improve their energy services by increasing use of energy carriers can enable poor households to enjoy both short term and self reinforcing long term improvements in their living standards

D. Household energy information

Last edited by Miriam Hansen .
Page last modified on Sunday September 19, 2010 18:51:16 GMT.
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