Domestic energy consumption patterns in Kigali, Rwanda - how disparate are they in view of urbanisation

In Rwanda, households are the main energy consumers, consuming approximately 91% of the total energy (2009). Moreover, biomass energy attributed to about 85% of the total energy. With continuous migrant influx and population boom, steady increase in domestic energy consumption has been observed over the past two decades. With respect to this phenomenon, little is known about the change in consumption patterns in the household sector. Based on this background, the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, was chosen as a case study area for this topic. Kigali inhabits about one-tenth of Rwanda's population and consumes almost 50% of total electricity in the country. Two questionnaire-based surveys were conducted over a period of six months between June and Nov 2015 in order to assess the determining parameters of household energy consumption in urban and peri-urban Kigali. The results show large differences in the electricity consumption across various socioeconomic groups and housing types. Charcoal consumption was found to be almost similar in all groups from poor to even rich households. The variability in electricity consumption was found to be relatively high in different building types, indicating that energy consumption is more related to the lifestyle and socioeconomic groups than just to income. Contrary to popular belief, total energy consumption in lower income groups was not exceptionally low. Low-income households rather use multiple fuels to fulfil their daily needs with more frequent purchases, which eventually results in higher overall energy consumption. The disparities in consumption in various income groups were lower than expected but particular patterns exist in different socioeconomic groups. The results of this survey are compared with statistical data from previous years.

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