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Let there be light: A multi-actor approach to alleviating energy poverty in Asia


Energy poverty is the primary energy security issue impacting almost 800 million people, particularly women and children, in the developing countries of Asia. Current trends indicate that should there be no change to existing policies, and the governance systems and institutions underpinning them, the absolute number of energy poor will barely shift. Most significantly, addressing energy poverty is critical to absolute poverty reduction, enhanced gender equality and political stability in the Asian region. We offer a solution to progress the energy poverty alleviation effort focused on encouraging sustainable, development-centred investment. This will involve multi-actor partnerships between developed and developing country governments, investors, and multilateral institutions. We propose that there may be spill over effects for investing firms, in the form of strengthened corporate reputation. Consequently, energy poverty alleviation efforts can create new opportunities for commerce, multilateral institutions, NGOs, and developing and developed countries. It is envisaged that the multi-actor approach put forward by this paper will facilitate the partnerships, programs and provisions needed to alleviate energy poverty in Asia. However, critical to the success of this collaborative approach is a genuine shift in sentiment from the key stakeholders involved in the effort.