Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Report Finds World Bank’s Energy Lending Fails to Target the Poorest

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Elizabeth Bast, Oil Change International, 202-641-7203, ebast@priceofoil.org
Patricia Brooks, ActionAid USA, 202-351-1757

Report Finds World Bank’s Energy Lending Fails to Target the Poorest, Calls for Decentralized Clean Energy to Achieve Development Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New research released today by Oil Change International, ActionAid International and Vasudha Foundation in India reveals the World Bank Group’s energy lending is not targeted at the world’s poorest.  The report finds only 9 percent of the World Bank Group’s energy lending in the last two years targets energy for the poor.

A review of World Bank energy lending documents shows that the large majority of the Bank’s energy lending does not focus on the 20 percent of the global population who lack access to energy, with over 90 percent of the energy portfolio failing to focus on creating new electricity connections for those who lack access; on electricity for services important to the poor, such as health clinics, schools, or telecommunications; or on energy for productive uses in energy-poor communities.

The report also shows that increased energy access for the poor can be achieved affordably through decentralized renewable energy – rather than through the centralized fossil fuel projects that are often financed.

“With many people without access to energy services living in rural areas far from the electricity grid, we have found that decentralized renewable energy systems are both cheaper and more reliable than extending the grid to remote communities,” said Srinivas Krishnawamy of Vasudha Foundation, an author of the report.

“Poor people are the ones suffering from pollution, climate change, and negative health impacts from fossil fuels. The best approach, and the fairest, is to focus on clean, off-grid energy solutions for the poor that not only provide them energy, but decrease the harmful impacts of our addiction to fossil fuels,” said Ilana Solomon, Senior Policy Analyst with ActionAid.

The World Bank Group has indicated an intention to focus on energy access and clean energy as part of its new energy sector strategy, which is currently being revised.

“If the World Bank is serious about fighting poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it needs to prove it by shifting lending to benefit people without access to energy and to clean energy options that will not increase the impact of global warming on the world’s most vulnerable populations. The World Bank’s current energy portfolio leaves much to be desired for the world’s poorest and for protecting the planet,” said Elizabeth Bast of Oil Change International, one of the report’s authors.

The report released today, ‘Access to Energy for the Poor,’ can be found at: http://priceofoil.org/educate/resources/access-to-energy-for-the-poor-the-clean-energy-option/

Comments (3)

  1. Poverty is a problem all nations is facing right now. World Bank, being in the position to help should revise a their strategy to target those who are mostly in need of their help. If they want to alleviate poverty, they should focus on the poorest of the poor and help them get back into their feet. WB Group is doing so much but I am sure they can do better.

  2. Most of the countries all over the world are experiencing poverty. Too much population causes poor community to be much poorer. Now, if World Bank really wanted to mollify poverty, then WB group should have accurate estimation on which should be prioritized. They should start in the poorest countries like Republic of Liberia or Republic of the Congo. People living there are mostly malnourished. Good luck World Bank!

  3. The creation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
    (HIPC) Debt Initiative marked a turning point in the evolution
    of development finance. The HIPC Initiative has been
    a catalyst for far-reaching changes in the processes surrounding
    development assistance, reflecting the coming
    of age of a new authorizing environment with the active
    participation of civil society. It has introduced greater
    transparency and accountability in the sovereign debt
    regime and raised development cooperation to a higher
    plane, including between the World Bank and the International
    Monetary Fund.

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