▪ Abstract 

This review utilizes the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) working definition of “productive uses of energy,” which states “in the context of providing modern energy services in rural areas, a productive use of energy is one that involves the application of energy derived mainly from renewable resources to create goods and/or services either directly or indirectly for the production of income or value.” The definition reflects the shift toward the aspirations of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Traditionally, the productive uses of energy have been rather narrowly defined. The focus has been on the direct impact of energy use on gross domestic product (GDP) and the importance of motive power for agriculture. This conventional view has some utility in understanding the nature of development at the national and regional level; however, in order to respond to international development goals while maintaining pace with an ever-evolving understanding of what development is, it is important to consider how this traditional thinking may be augmented. The earlier thinking about the productive uses of energy needs to be updated with an enhanced understanding of the tremendous impact that energy services have on education, health, and gender equality. Indeed, a refined understanding of energy use has important public policy implications because scarce resources may be guided into investments that may achieve the desired national or international development goals.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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