What are the Major Barriers to Increased Use of Modern Energy Services among the World’s Poorest People and are Interventions to Overcome these Effective?

Publication Details

Watson, J., Byrne, R., Opazo, J., Tsang, F., Morgan-Jones, M. and Diepeveen, S. (2011). What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world’s poorest people and are interventions to overcome these effective? CEE protocol 11-004. Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. Link to Source
Jim Watson, Rob Byrne, J. Opazo, Flavia Tsang, Molly Morgan Jones, Stephanie Diepeveen
All Low and Middle Income Countries
Distribution & Transmission
Equity Focus
Review Type
Other review

Main findings

Summary of findings forthcoming.


Access to modern energy services and technologies can be an important factor in determining people’s health, education and quality of life (DFID 2002; Modi et al. 2005; UNDP-WHO 2009; Bazilian et al. 2010). This is especially true for the world’s poorest people, and, as a result, the provision of access to energy services for the poor has become an important developmental goal. There is an extensive literature which addresses the possible barriers which may be preventing greater success, and the potential policies which might serve to provide the world’s poor with access to modern energy services. This review sets out to discover what barriers are preventing more widespread adoption of modern energy services, and whether the interventions successfully removed these barriers.

Research objectives

The authors outline two principal questions for the study: (1) 'What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world’s poorest people?', and (2) 'Are interventions to overcome these barriers effective?'


This systematic review will include studies assessing the effect of any public-policy intervention aimed at removing barriers to modern energy services in lower- and middle-income countries, with a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Both qualitative and quantitative studies with a comparison group will be considered for inclusion. A systematic review of scholarly databases, grey literature and stakeholder-provided literature will be undertaken. Only English-language papers will be considered. Papers will be filtered according to the extent to which they discuss modern energy services or energy technologies and barriers to their use. Only studies which examine ‘low-income countries’ as defined by the World Bank will be included. The review examines only modern energy services other than cooking. The authors will synthesise results using narrative synthesis and meta analysis, provided that sufficient quantitative studies are found.

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