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Picture credit: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development Pictured: Elizabeth Mukwimba


Sustainable Energy for Economic Development

We aim to help six African countries expand electricity access with clean technologies by 2020.

Image Courtesy Off-Grid Electric

What is SEED?

We work with governments, utilities, development partners, and private sector energy developers in developing countries to drive affordable, efficient, whole-systems energy programs that incorporate emerging distributed, renewable technologies and rapidly provide energy access to those without electricity.

Photo credit: Irene Angwenyi / USAID Kenya

Why It Matters

Globally, 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity; yet reliable electricity is crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development. If the economies of sub-Saharan Africa are to continue their rapid rates of growth, their citizens and businesses will need access to affordable, clean, and reliable electricity.

Picture credit: Joerg Boethling

What We’re Doing

RMI is supporting energy access in developing countries through single-country engagements and cross-cutting efforts that scale what we learn on the ground more broadly. We started in Rwanda and are currently working in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

RMI provides two main services: Impartial technical, policy and financial advice on energy system development, and collaboration with government, development partners, and the private sector to ensure successful implementation of our recommendations.

Photo courtesy of Eric Wanless

What We’ve Accomplished

In Rwanda, our first partner country, we have:

  • Worked closely with development partners and the private sector to create a shared vision for and approach to rural electrification

  • Identified $20 million per year immediate savings for the national utility and developed an energy efficiency program with the utility to capture savings

  • Identified concrete opportunities that will help the government meet its rural electrification targets to grow access to electricity from 22% to 70% in two years, using a combination of on-grid and off-grid technologies

  • Revealed $1 billion in long-term savings through an integrated resource plan and worked with the national utility on initial implementation

  • Built capacity with the national utility to develop, own, and update an integrated resource plan to guide energy procurement, demand management, and rural electrification decisions

Our Partners

Virgin Unite


The Rockefeller Foundation


Our Team

Stephen Doig
Managing Director

Eric Wanless

Josh Agenbroad

Kelly Carlin
Sr. Associate

Kendall Ernst
Sr. Associate

Devi Glick
Sr. Associate

Margaret McCall
Sr. Associate

Scarlett Santana

Callie Sasser
Program Coordinator

Selena Wang-Thomas
Sr. Associate



Accelerating Sustainable Electricity Access in sub-Saharan Africa

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Program Overview

Our Sustainable Electricity for Economic Development (SEED) program is driving clean, reliable, and affordable energy access in sub-Saharan Africa.

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