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Towards responsible and fair pay-as-you-go energy access in sub-Saharan Africa


Market-based solutions are playing an increasingly important role in advancing the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Here we focus on pay-as-you-go (PAYG) energy systems, a market-based approach that enables users to pay for energy in small amounts. While acknowledging the benefits of PAYG, we draw attention to six areas of concern about its implementation, including the suitability of PAYG business models to serve lower-income households, data collection and use, and the characteristics of PAYG energy providers and investors. We outline an agenda for inclusive PAYG energy systems in a proactive effort to shape a rapidly evolving sector. We hope that by anticipating these risks, we can help ensure that the PAYG sector is appropriately regulated and that its benefits accrue to the intended beneficiaries.

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We thank L. Umalla and C. Heffer for their valuable feedback and guidance.

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Correspondence to Tash Perros.

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Nature Energy thanks Lucy Baker, Damien Frame and Shanil Samarakoon for their contributions to the peer review of this work.

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Perros, T., Unsworth, S., Ali, M. et al. Towards responsible and fair pay-as-you-go energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. Nat Energy 9, 520–525 (2024).

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