EDF (Electricité de France), France's main electricity generation and distribution company and a major player in European energy markets, began a handful of pilot projects in the early 1990s, providing electricity access to off-grid rural consumers in Africa. Driven by corporate philanthropy and also by EDF employees, they targeted family and regional relations of rural households and villages in Africa. Over a decade, it evolved into a multi-player cross sector partnership supporting a market sustainable model of local service companies distributing solar panel electricity generators to village-based consumers. The case also explores the role of the different players from governmental, private and civil society as they search for a market sustainable model, and attempts made to scale up the model across rural areas in Morocco, South Africa and Malawi.
This richly detailed case about EDF's promotion of energy access to low-income rural consumers in emerging markets and developing countries, can be viewed through several intersecting paradigms. As a study of corporate philanthropy it can be used to trace and evaluate an initiative from its early philanthropic roots into a strategic corporate initiative for a global energy company with an evolving position in renewable energies in advanced industrial and emerging markets. As an example of cross- sector collaboration it showcases best practice for partnering across governmental, business and civil society sectors, and the use of such partnerships to pursue development goals such as energy access for rural consumers. Finally, as an example of entrepreneurship it traces the building of a market sustainable model for a local service provider, or RESCO, supplying solar energy generation kits. At its heart, the case offers lessons for entrepreneurs and governmental and social sector actors seeking market sustainable entrepreneurial solutions to the problem of global energy access, one of the major barriers to rural development worldwide.
- Cross Sector Partnerships
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Social Entrepreneurship
- Public Private Partnerships
- Solar Power