Pricing Policy and Household Energy Use in Dakar, Senegal

For most people in the poorer countries of the Third World, ‘energy’ means fuelwood or charcoal. However, many of these countries seem to be sliding into a deficit situation, where the forests are ‘mined’ rather than harvested. This paper examines the case of Senegal, which has virtually no exploited sources of domestic energy other than wood. It looks at the question of whether higher prices for charcoal would have some beneficial effects such as reduced demand and more efficient supply. This question was addressed by the 1985 Dakar Household Energy Survey, the results of which are published here. The survey covered 200 households spread throughout the urban area of Dakar as well as a nearby fishing village, Yenne. In order to determine whether there was any relationship between social class and energy behaviour, a division of respondents into three classes was made. Type of energy used and household attitudes, including reasons for choice of energy, were examined. It appeared that cooking habits were the most important factor determining choice of household energy. The results of the survey suggest that reliance on the price mechanism to reduce consumption of charcoal per household will not produce the desired results, because demand for charcoal (especially from poor households) appears to be highly inelastic. If the aim is to curb demand, then a publicity campaign emphasizing that the efficiency of the improved stove would bring savings to the individual would appear to be a better way to proceed than trusting to the ‘market’ to create a balance. Notes, ref.

Title:Pricing Policy and Household Energy Use in Dakar, Senegal
Authors:Tibesar, Arthur
White, Rodney
Year:1990
Periodical:Journal of Developing Areas
Volume:25
Issue:1
Period:October
Pages:33-47
Language:English
Geographic term:Senegal
External links: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4191933
http://search.proquest.com/pao/docview/1311648927
Abstract:For most people in the poorer countries of the Third World, ‘energy’ means fuelwood or charcoal. However, many of these countries seem to be sliding into a deficit situation, where the forests are ‘mined’ rather than harvested. This paper examines the case of Senegal, which has virtually no exploited sources of domestic energy other than wood. It looks at the question of whether higher prices for charcoal would have some beneficial effects such as reduced demand and more efficient supply. This question was addressed by the 1985 Dakar Household Energy Survey, the results of which are published here. The survey covered 200 households spread throughout the urban area of Dakar as well as a nearby fishing village, Yenne. In order to determine whether there was any relationship between social class and energy behaviour, a division of respondents into three classes was made. Type of energy used and household attitudes, including reasons for choice of energy, were examined. It appeared that cooking habits were the most important factor determining choice of household energy. The results of the survey suggest that reliance on the price mechanism to reduce consumption of charcoal per household will not produce the desired results, because demand for charcoal (especially from poor households) appears to be highly inelastic. If the aim is to curb demand, then a publicity campaign emphasizing that the efficiency of the improved stove would bring savings to the individual would appear to be a better way to proceed than trusting to the ‘market’ to create a balance. Notes, ref.