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How Governments Can Minimize the Impact of Covid-19 On Rural Off-Grid Communities

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, at least 160 million people are currently benefiting from off-grid solutions, including
mini-grids and solar home systems. This has been achieved over the last 10 years as the technologies are
increasingly becoming easier to deploy. Consequently, off-grid solutions have been mainstreamed in the electrification master plans of several countries and are poised to play a significant role in complimenting the grid to attain universal electrification targets in the region. However, 595 million people do not have access to electricity, including many health centers and schools. It is estimated that off-grid systems remain the least-cost solution to electrify at least 70% of this population by 2030.

In the wake of Covid-19, governments are using a variety of communication platforms including radio,
television and short messaging services (SMS) to communicate control measures to the public. Increasingly, people in rural areas are relying on off-grid solar systems to power these devices and stay up to date on government directives. Governments can enhance and support efforts targeted at the rural off-grid communities by classifying off-grid solutions including solar home systems as an essential service, while at the same time providing an enabling environment for the sector.

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