Many rural areas that are part of developing economies don’t have access to electricity. Africa is a prime example of a continent that still has areas without any access to power. Despite all the development that has taken place, the continent is still home to several people with no access to electricity.
With energy being “the golden thread that accelerates economic growth,” rural areas that don’t have access to electricity are missing out on great advancements. According to expert energy management consultants, a development model that does not include the rural sector is bound to fail. This is why countries today are looking to provide electricity to rural areas.
The electrification of the rural areas creates a process that is efficient enough to promote economic growth. There are no hindrances to growth as the whole country is unified in achieving an objective. The benefits of electrification of rural areas are both economic and social. Human development comes to the forefront as countries look for ways to raise the standard of living of its people. The rise in standard and the poverty elimination then play an integral role in the growth the country witnesses.
Here are some benefits of rural electrification that highlight and analyse the significance of the act.
Improves the Quality of Life
Keeping the economic objectives aside, rural electrification provides citizens with access to basic commodities such as electricity. This will, in turn, simplify their lives and lead to a stream of benefits related to it.
The electrification will lead to great educational possibilities in the region as students are now able to study during the night time. The electric bulbs or LED lighting will replace the unhealthy kerosene lamps and increase the level of basic comfort in a household.
Similarly, clinics and hospitals can operate during the night time, leading to the provision of better healthcare. Rural electrification can also increase communication, as residents of a rural setting will now have access to mobile phones and basic technology. The provision of electricity means that people will not have to go to a far-flung area to charge their mobile batteries, since this option is available at home.
Electricity is a special gift for areas that are subject to extreme climates. Heating during the winter season or staying cool during the summer can become immensely challenging for the residents. The community becomes isolated as the outsiders cannot survive in the severe climatic conditions.
With rural electrification, these communities will have access to primary heating and cooling, making their lives much more bearable. Heating also reduces cases of infant mortality as children can get the right temperature required for their survival and growth.
Increases Economic Productivity
Rural areas are predominantly involved in the primary sector. Farmers often use their land and vacant spaces around to cultivate products that contribute to the overall economy.
Without electricity, the rural farmers have very little to work with. Providing power to the farmers will increase productivity and ease the farming mechanism. The access to water pumps and tube-wells will make it easier for farmers to water their fields. It also provides them with a better alternative than the local lake or pond.
Farmers can now contribute to productivity as they can add value to the final products. Access to electricity allows farmers to exercise processes such as milling, grinding, and husking depending on the nature of the product. The method of value-addition allows the farmers to earn more revenue as it diversifies the market and consumer base. The income earned with the help of the processes then increases the standards of living for the farmer, while adding to the overall economic productivity of the country.
Information and technology are some of the essential drivers of growth today. The productivity of the Global Value Chain (GVC) depends on the effective use of blockchain technology during the production phase. The technology ensures there is smooth communication and the supply chain is not affected by petty issues.
Rural electrification ensures the effective participation of the agricultural sector in the two key principles today. The rural sector can be a part of GVC and play an integral role in blockchain technology, only if it has access to basic electricity.
Necessary communication also includes people-to-people contact, as the internet, TV, and cinema share information and entertainment in the region. By having access to the internet, families living in rural areas will feel connected with the world.
Furthermore, communication will remove barriers of isolation as the rural folks are actively part of global trends and happenings. Improving communication also means that the residents of the area will now have access to other developments that include internet banking and e-commerce.
Technology allows residents of rural areas to connect with the world with a push of a button and the tap of the finger.
It isn’t very easy to categorise the benefits of rural electrification. Access to electricity allows rural areas to be a part of the global effort to reduce poverty and eliminate challenges to growth and development. It also improves the standard of living as farmers now follow the vehicle electrification trends rather than draining their resources on a non-renewable resource.
The better yields from irrigation methods can match the rising demand and feed the increasing population of a developing nation. The better infrastructure can lead to better transport and reduce the cost of producing goods. All factors and positive indicators combine to lead to an economic situation where both the farmers and the state are part of the economic development.
A country grows leaps and bounds when the state uses renewable sources for electrification. Using renewable sources such as wind and biogas don’t take a toll on the natural resources of the country, and they are also easier to maintain.