General Background


All of the EAC partner states remain heavily dependent on traditional solid fuels such as wood and charcoal, especially for household-level cooking and heating.

According to the EAC Regional Status Report, 2016, the share of biomass in primary energy consumption is lowest in Kenya, at 68%, and highest in Burundi, at more than 95%. Traditional biomass accounts for average 80% of the energy consumption in EAC partner states.  The share of petroleum products used as a primary energy source in EAC countries is relatively small compared to the use of traditional biomass, but it is still significant.

The implementation of stable and reliable electricity supply in the EAC Partner States is still challenging.  As the power grid is considered to be among the worst in Africa, resulting in low electrification rates as well as low average electricity consumption in the region.


Share of primary energy consumption in EAC partner states, by fuel source, 2011-2014​

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Opportunities

Over recent decades, a broad range of proven renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and solutions have been developed. Renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures can be associated with various benefits and opportunities for East African countries.

Renewable energy-based economic development is not only more sustainable, as it relies on local energy sources and prevents negative environmental effects, but it also creates local employment opportunities. With increasing deployment of Renewable energy technologies and the declining costs, renewable energy technologies are becoming increasingly competitive.  

A promising way to achieve energy independence is the creation of a wealth-generating, regional, renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) industry. This is more so the case, as the EAC economies are dominated by agriculture, where there are vast opportunities for using sustainable energy technologies such as water pumping, biogas production and solar drying.

The agriculture sector provides 75-90% of employment to the EAC partner states population. Opportunities for economic growth and the use of renewable energy and increased process efficiency exist in large-scale farming, irrigation, value addition; processing, pre-packing and specialization, in order to exploit regional and international markets; the opportunity for industrial growth exists in locally producing inputs for use in the agricultural sector.

Energy is considered a key factor in achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction in the EAC region.


The EAC region can benefit from the utilization of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and services, in the following way:

  • increased access to modern energy services in rural and remote areas;
  • investments in electricity generation capacity;
  • opportunities for engaging communities  in productive activities; and,
  • the enhanced delivery of social services such as health education, water, agricultural production; etc.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and services can foster the economic potential of the EAC region and contribute towards poverty reduction.


Most donor governments and international organizations have recognized the importance of integrating energy into development policies to promote sustainable and rural development by making available new and renewable energy sources, and improved energy efficiency for social services, rural households and productive needs in rural development programmes.

Access to clean, reliable and affordable energy services is essential for basic human needs; at the household level, and also for health centres, schools, and productive uses. With providing access to clean reliable and affordable energy services, the livelihoods in the poorest countries can be improved and it will drive local economic development on a sustainable basis.