Kenya’s rapid electricity connections in a bid to cover every household by 2020 has won the country plaudits from the World Bank.
Despite ranking behind Ethiopia and Tanzania on the continent, the country has been named among states that have made the biggest gains in the energy sector over the past decade in a report by the global lender.
This is even as the sector continues to come under heavy criticism because of Kenya Power’s billing model, among other challenges. The World Bank noted that Kenya stood among the top countries that had put in place enabling policies and regulation that had in turn fuelled the growth of the power sector. According to the report, this was seen in the adoption of renewable energy projects as well as fast-paced connections of new customers to the national electricity grid.
The World Bank’s report titled Policy Matters – Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) - ranked Kenya seventh globally, with the country being singled out for praise for being among states that had posted the strongest gains in terms of putting in place policy frameworks that supported the growth of the energy sector.
Switzerland led the pack of countries that had the fastest development of energy-related policies since 2010.
“Kenya has made the most progress relative to where it was in 2010… Kenya, in particular, stands out for its accelerated progress in electrification underpinned by the rapid adoption of supporting policy measures, following the paradigm shift contained in the country’s electrification programme,” said World Bank in the report.
It added that policy support had seen Kenya, as well as other countries such as Ethiopia and Tanzania, become progressive in terms of adoption of renewable energy.
Ethiopia was ranked top in the continent for having the most comprehensive energy-access-enabling environment followed by Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. Despite the accolades, Kenya’s power sector has over the years been riddled with challenges, including the high cost of power mostly due to underinvestment in cheap electricity-generating sources and slow response by utilities to consumer concerns such as power outages.