Publication: Restoring Balance : Bangladesh's Rural Energy Realities
Barnes, Douglas F.
Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries. Nearly 80 percent of the nation's 140 million people reside in rural areas; of these, 20 percent live in extreme poverty. Geographically, many low-lying areas are vulnerable to severe flooding, while other regions are prone to drought, erosion, and soil salinity. Such an unfavorable agricultural landscape, combined with mismanagement of natural resources and increasing population pressure, is pushing many of the rural poor to the brink. Because Bangladesh is such a poor country, it also is one of the world's lowest energy producers. Total annual energy supply is only about 150 liters of oil equivalent per capita (International Energy Agency, or IEA 2003); in rural areas, conditions are even worse. Compared to other developing countries, Bangladesh uses little modern energy. Despite its successful rural electrification program, close to two-thirds of households remain without electricity and, with the exception of kerosene, commercial fuels are beyond reach for many. Moreover, biomass fuels are becoming increasingly scarce. Collected mainly from the local environment as recently as two decades ago, bio-fuels are fast becoming a marketed commodity as access to local biomass continues to shrink. This study, the first to concentrate on Bangladesh's energy systems and their effects on the lives of rural people, drew on these background studies, as well as other World Bank-financed research on indoor air pollution (IAP) and rural infrastructure, to present a rural energy strategy for the country. Much of this study's analytical underpinning was based on several background studies. This study also reanalyzed data from earlier research to better understand the benefits of modern energy use for rural households, farm activities, and small businesses.
“Asaduzzaman, Mohammad; Barnes, Douglas F.; Khandker, Shahidur R.. 2010. Restoring Balance : Bangladesh's Rural Energy Realities. World Bank Working Paper ; No. 181. © World Bank. http://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/5943 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
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