Dr. René Jean-Jumeau
by Allison Archambault
On January 23, Haitian President Martelly announced a new rural electrification program aiming to electrify 200,000 households in the next two years. The program, named “Ban m limyè, Ban m lavi” (BLBL, translated as “Give me light, give me life”) envisions a portfolio of approaches to electrification, including opening up access to end-user credit for small solar home systems.
Dr. René Jean-Jumeau calls for bold innovation to electrify 200,000 Haitian homes in two years. While details have yet to be defined, the announcement is a clear signal that the highest levels of Haitian government are prioritizing energy access. Dr. René Jean-Jumeau, Secretary of State for Energy, pointed out that the state-owned national utility, EDH, recently celebrated 40 years of operation, yet less than 30% of the Haitian population has access to electricity. “We cannot wait another 40 years to get another 30% electrified,” Jean-Jumeau said.
Both Jean-Jumeau and Martelly drew clear lines between economic growth and access to energy and called for innovation and public-private partnerships to fill the gaps currently left by EDH.