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close this bookRural Energy and Development: Improving Energy Supply for Two Billion People (WB, 1996, 132 p.)
close this folderChapter seven - The role of the world bank group
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPolicies and operations since the 1970s
View the documentRural electrification
View the documentThe sustainable in a production and use of wood-fuels
View the documentRenewable energy
View the documentProject innovations and advisory services
View the documentThe way forward: a renewed commitment by the world bank group
View the documentBroadening the scope of energy sector reform
View the documentInvestments
View the documentOpportunities for partnerships

The way forward: a renewed commitment by the world bank group

This paper envisages a renewed commitment by the Bank to support its member countries' efforts to extend modern energy supplies to populations without them. and to promote sustainable supply and use of biofuels for as long as they remain important sources of energy. Modern energy as defined here includes new forms of renewable energy.

The time is ripe tot a renewed commitment. The experiences of the past twenty years have been substantive, spanning 100 projects of varying sizes and policy discussions in more than 100 countries, and we know much more about both the approaches that are likely to work and those that that probably will not. Where uncertainties are present as occurs. especially with respect to institutional development they have been recognized and options identified. Many developing countries are also committed to improving the enabling environment. at the macroeconomic level and in the energy sector, which the Bank Group is supporting. and this too should aid rural energy investments.

With the important exception of afforestation, however, the Bank's work on rural energy - and also the related problem of extending service to unserved urban populations - has declined since the mid-1980s. largely because of the financial and institutional problems afflicting the energy sector discussed earlier. which focused the Bank's attention on sector reform. The Bank is also still in the early stages of developing a pipeline of renewable energy projects and supporting policies. In addition. the Bank's work in these areas has become highly dependent on outside support from trust funds, secondments, and special programs such as ESMAP and ASTAE. The allocation of both Bank staff time and its financial resources to the challenges discussed in this paper amount to it modest proportion of its total efforts in the energy sector. Yet these challenges concern the most impoverished populations of developing countries and work in this area is fully consistent with Bank policies.

The Bank's renewed commitment must be reflected in its future work on energy sector reform and through its investments. While the following recommendations focus on unmet needs in rural energy markets. in the case of modern energy forms, they are equally applicable to unserved markets in urban areas.