South Africa: Best Practice Case Studies

From energypedia

Energy programs have been implemented across Africa by various organizations for over twenty-five years. Programs have evolved and improved by taking advantage of both formal and informal communication of program features and lessons learned.
The Best Practice projects presented herein seek to build experience and knowledge by establishing a structure for sharing best practices to help meet today’s complex energy challenges.

WLPGA/UNDP LPG Rural Energy Challenge South Africa

LPG can provide energy to rural communities where costly grid-based energy services are unavailable. It can be easily stored and transported to reach isolated communities. It is inherently suited to an indoor fuel because it is clean, burns without smoke or residual particulate matter and is virtually free of toxic gases. LPG can provide many households with a modern alternative to traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, charcoal and dung, which contributes to a better quality of life, improves sanitation and liberates women from spending time collecting fuel, thus enabling them to spend more time on education and income-generating activities.
Access to LPG also supports the creation and modernization of small commercial enterprises dealing with food preparation and processing (roasting coffee, cacao, pimento and peanuts; water heating; refrigeration; fish smoking), agriculture (driving irrigation pumps, crop drying, and weed burning), ceramics, glass and metal works.

Implementation Strategy

This public-private partnership initiative between the UNDP and the World LPG Association (WLGPA) was launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. The initiative is designed to create viable and sustainable markets for LPG delivery and consumption as a means to deliver a wide range of productive services, and contribute to sustainable energy solutions in selected developing countries. In-country workshops have been held in Honduras, Morocco, South Africa, Ghana and Vietnam.
Following the workshop in South Africa in which WLPGA/UNDP brought the government and the LPG industry together, the major LPG suppliers in the country, under the auspices of the LPG Safety Association of South Africa, developed the LPG Low Income Household Programme, which aimed to supply LPG energy to millions of poor households on a commercially sustainable basis.
The government provided a subsidy for the initial cost of switching with the acquisition of cylinders and cooking appliances and a range of other generic enabling activities such as user education, the creation of a local supply, providing employment for the previously disadvantaged, setting a maximum resale price, and the supply of small and easily portable cooking tops. Partnerships with local Black Economic Empowerment groups facilitated distribution. Private businesses participated on a competitive basis with their own independent offerings and advantages.

Lessons Learned

  • Partnership with UNDP was helpful in attracting high-level government officials and key gatekeepers from the supply industry to meet and discuss the way forward
  • In South Africa, partnership with UNDP allowed the government and private investors to define their own particular ethos and needs, which provided a basis for the workshop in building common ground, solving each of the problems and creating a common vision
  • It is important at outset to identify which of the stakeholders actually have the resources and necessary skills and the power to act
  • The working dialogue between industry and government needs to be guided by local circumstances and dynamics
  • A body should oversee market expansion and allow industry participants to compete with each other rather than collaborate on a joint market expansion strategy. In South Africa this was achieved by appointing an independent energy consulting practice to the project.


GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: VII - Best Practice Case Studies.