Energy is a critical resource that links the factors of production and influences socioeconomic development in communities, and its importance in driving development within social and economic systems cannot be underestimated. It is, however, critical that energy development initiatives are linked to economic activity to stimulate socioeconomic development. This paper contributes to the discourse on global development through rural electrification by presenting cases on energy delivery for rural development in three developing countries on different continents. Specifically, this paper addresses the challenges around innovation in designing, financing and implementing sustainable business models necessary for delivering energy to rural communities in developing countries. The paper also highlights the importance of business models in attracting finance for rural renewable energy projects, establishes the importance of adapting business models to local conditions and specifies the role of innovation in scaling up sustainable business models to accelerate progress toward alleviating the energy access challenge in developing countries.

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CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.
  • Chijioke Oji is a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. His current research focuses on developing innovative financing models for small and medium-scale renewable energy projects to alleviate the energy access challenge in developing countries and foster decentralized renewable energy production in developed and emerging economies.

  • Olaf Weber is a CIGI senior fellow. His research focuses on sustainability and the banking sector. He is currently an associate professor at the University of Waterloo. Since 2010, Olaf has held the Export Development Canada Chair in Environmental Finance.