Ongoing project

Café Lumière: multi-service energy platforms

Type of project

Regional office


  • Population: 24235390 people
    35% urban - 65% rural
  • Life expectancy: 65 years
  • Adult literacy rate, population 15+ years: 64%
  • Population with access to electricity:
    61% urban - 8% rural
  • Population with access to Improved water source:
    82% urban - 35% rural

The need

In Madagascar, with a rate of access to electricity of only 4.8% in rural areas, 14 million rural people live without access to modern energy services. The Café Lumière project targets the forgotten rural populations of Madagascar with electrification strategies. It starts from several observations:

– The low standard of living and the isolation of these populations make access to the electricity grid difficult and costly. They have access only to inefficient lighting solutions that are dangerous for their health (kerosene, candles) or, for the richer households, costly individual electrification such as solar kit or generator.
– These solutions do not respond to productive needs.
– On the other hand, there has been a relative failure of electrification projects in the public services (school, health centre) over the past two decades, due to the difficulty of mobilizing and financing long-term resources to ensure the maintenance of the systems.

The response

This project is the result of the convergence of several innovation processes carried out in parallel by the actors who are currently involved in this project. The first step was to formalize the need for a new approach to the idea of a multi-service energy platform in isolated rural environments, an existing concept that has had only mixed results.. This step was initiated by Electriciens sans frontières at the end of 2011 from the experience of past projects seeking to combine collective and individual energy services. The second step was to create a working group bringing together actors from the field, experts from several disciplines and bringing innovative approaches to access to energy in isolated rural areas in developing countries.

The project involves the deployment of multi-service energy platforms, managed by a private operator, with the population and local authorities of several villages without electricity, enabling them to supply both collective infrastructures and market activities from renewable electricity.

The aim

To contribute to the extension of the access to sustainable energy of isolated populations and to promote the development of local economic fabric and collective services. The project will benefit the population of six villages in rural areas, with approximately 21,000 people providing access to modern and sustainable energy services and improved local public services.

Good practices

The project is based on the analysis of more than 50 electricity access projects carried out by Electriciens sans frontières in a dozen countries, including Madagascar, on the experience feedback from the GRET multifunctional platform programme in Mauritania, and on the analysis of electrification projects carried out in Madagascar in recent years.

A follow-up mechanism will be deployed throughout the project to check both the achievement of results and the impact of the action on the population. This will be based on 1) the definition of key monitoring indicators in consultation with the French Development Agency (AFD), in the project definition phase, 2) preliminary quantitative and qualitative surveys to analyse the living conditions of populations and the market for each service, 3) the completion of two external, intermediate and final evaluations, to measure project results and its impact on populations

In order to sustain and promote the deployment of the model, a capitalization approach will be undertaken from the start, in consultation with the AFD and Malagasy institutions. The objective of this capitalization will be to better understand the issues involved in the scaling up of the model.

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