The Smart Villages Initiative organised a workshop in Panama City on 2-3 May 2017 to discuss the challenges of, and opportunities for, rural electrification in Latin America. The workshop was the conclusion of the Smart Villages Initiative’s engagement activities in the region and brought together significant actors in rural electrification with the aim of jointly developing recommendations to policy makers.
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have made substantial progress in increasing their rates of electrification in the last decades, and as a result, 95% of the population has access to electricity. However, this still leaves 30 million people with no access to modern energy services, and these mostly reside in remote, dispersed and isolated communities, with poor road access, infrastructure and connectivity. Frequently, off-grid communities also lack other basic services and resources, such as high quality health and education and access to clean water and sanitation. As a result, closing the gap in energy access in Latin America and the Caribbean requires addressing the most difficult, expensive and technologically challenging situations: the “last mile” in rural electrification.