Rural economic development

With limited energy sources and high unemployment rates in rural areas, there is a great need to create alternative energy and employment opportunities for rural communities.

IeCs (Integrated Energy Centres) are one-stop energy shops owned and operated by a registered community Cooperative and organised as a community project. The IeCs act as community information hubs, buying illuminated paraffin (IP), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), candles, petrol and diesel from oil companies and selling these products to the community at more affordable prices. IeCs are linked with the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of the municipalities. 

IeCs have been identified as growth drivers for capacity building in poor and underdeveloped rural communities. The focus of the IeCs is on educating and training communities in aspects of energy conservation and establishing energy shops in areas where people have to travel great distances at high costs to obtain energy resources such as firewood, candles, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and paraffin for basic needs such as cooking, heating and lighting. 

The objectives of the IeC programme are:

  • Provide access to safe and affordable energy resources to poor households
  • Provide information about the safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable use of energy sources and available energy options such as renewable and non-grid energy
  • Influence policy in both the public and private sectors regarding energy provision
  • Social responsibility aimed at poverty alleviation, job creation and capacity building
BP is currently in the process of identifying areas where IeCs can be developed.