Tanzania Energy Access Maps is a web-based tool that can help energy entrepreneurs and electricity planners identify potential markets for distributed clean energy in Tanzania. The tool enables the spatial exploration of indicators for electrification status, economic buoyancy and mini-grid infrastructure. The tool draws on data from Tanzania’s 2012 Population and Housing Census and 2016 Energy Access Situation Report as well as mini-grid locations provided by the Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO).

Tanzania Energy Access Maps visualizes data for three key determinants of market viability for distributed electricity options:

  1. Energy need: percentage of households lacking access to electricity;
  2. Economic buoyancy: ownership of livestock, radios and iron roofing as proxies of ability to pay for or invest in clean energy);
  3. Mobile phone penetration: indicates potential to adopt pay-as-you-go service delivery models.

Users can explore these attributes by region or district to find areas most viable for electricity access implementation efforts. Regions and districts that lack electricity but are economically buoyant are likely to have residents with the economic freedom to invest in clean energy. These areas are likely to attract private investment in clean energy.  Conversely, areas that lack access to electricity but are economically vulnerable are least likely to attract private investments. Public support will be needed to meet electrification needs in such areas.


The Tanzania Energy Access Maps created by the World Resources Institute serve as a platform for spatial exploration of various indicators which can provide insight into electrification rates, and socioeconomic data to inform energy investors of potential markets. Publicly available opensource data was utilized to provide a geospatial understanding of the electrification situation in Mainland Tanzania.

These maps display aggregated data with the aim to inform decision-making for the following audiences:

  • Social enterprises and impact investors operating in Tanzania Mainland for identifying the markets for renewable energy

  • Policy makers to decide on which regions are more conducive to public private participation programmes in decentralized renewable energy


The government of United Republic of Tanzania intends to restructure the electricity sector to promote sustainable development in rural areas by establishing clean energy systems. Understanding the electrification situation in areas urban and remote is necessary to reach this goal. The Tanzania Energy Access Maps provide insight into economic factors in electricity market identification that are typically neglected due to focus primarily on environmental factors and existing infrastructure.

Tanzania Energy Access Market Maps spatially analyze and aggregate opensource data to locate district and regional levels of electrification and economic buoyancy to facilitate the exploration of potential energy markets. Our maps in addition to existing renewable resources research and licensing resources have the power to inform off-grid energy solution investors and donor to accomplish Sustainable Development Goal #7, Universal Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) by 2030.

Extensive research on renewable resource potential conducted by The World Bank and the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) can be found here.

Comprehensive resources on licensing, financing and existing infrastructure can be found here.

Market Criteria

Population Density

A common characteristic of developing countries such as the United Republic of Tanzania is a large sparsely scattered rural population. Spaciously arranged settlements are advantageous to people who depend on agriculture or subsistence for their livelihood. But, this condition is not optimal for energy distribution. Extending transmission lines to sparsely populated areas can be costly, hence our focus on off-grid energy solutions.

To locate off-grid energy markets we first need to understand where people are. The population map features three levels of sub-national population density visualization.

Zoom Level



1 (zoomed out)

Region: People per km/sq

2016 Tanzania Energy Access Situation Report

2 (mid-way)

District: People per km/sq

2012 Census: Basic Demographic and Socio-Economic Profile Report, Tanzania Mainland

3 (zoomed in)

Granular: People per 100m/sq


Electrification Rates

We utilized recent 2016 Tanzania Energy Access Situation Report household survey data to provide spatial understanding of the electrification situation in Tanzania. This survey assesses connectivity of electricity to the main dwelling of the household and connection type.


% Household Unconnected

% Rural Households Unconnected

% of Connected Supplied by Grid

% of Connected Supplied by Solar

The split between Grid and Solar electricity supply is worth examining because of the apparent adoption of off-grid solar energy solutions by rural communities in Tanzania. This is indicative of the success and impact off-grid energy can have on rural communities and the ability/willingness of these populations to purchase electricity.

Note: electrified homes not using off-grid solar are overwhelmingly sourced through the national grid

Economic Indicators

Tanzania is experiencing rapid economic growth. Energy access is critical to development; providing light, time-saving cooking fuel resource, providing new avenues of income generating activity, automating of house-hold tasks. On the other hand, investment opportunity exists to meet the growing energy demand that is associated with rising economic buoyancy of the Tanzanian population.

In addition to addressing demand produced in more economically buoyant regions, which are the interest of the private sector, there are also vulnerable populations which are lacking economic buoyancy. The areas most in need of clean energy investment are those which are struggling economically. Considering the capacity of electrification to improve the wellbeing of the vulnerable, we have highlighted economically vulnerable areas which are of interest to public sector energy investors.

Livestock, Iron Sheet Roofing and Radio Ownership are household assets that the WRI Energy Access team is using as indicators of economic buoyancy. Each has their own strength in representing a household’s wealth or ability to invest in clean energy. Our maps depict regional and district level ownership of these assets according to the 2012 Census.

Priority Filter

We have tailored our maps to be useable by private and public sector energy investors, donors, and researchers. To accommodate the different user preferences our maps feature a filtering interface, which allows the user to select the market criteria they deem most pertinent in the identification of energy markets at both the region and district scale. The two separate filtering interfaces: one for private investment and one for public investment are based on the assumption that private investors will be targeting areas with low ability-to-pay and low electrification rates while private investors will be targeting areas with high economic buoyancy and low electrification rates. In the private investment map, the chosen indicators will highlight the districts or regions in the top two quartiles of economic indicators such a radio ownership while those same indicators chosen in the public investment map will highlight districts and regions in the bottom two quartiles.  For more information regarding the thresholds which qualify a given district or region to be displayed for each given indicator, see the chart below.


Relevance to energy consumptions

Quartile Display Threshold

Data Source

Energy need

Locations which are severely energy deficient will be optimal areas for both private and public sector


Region: 2016 Tanzania Energy Situation Report District: 2012 Census

Ownership of livestock

Rural citizens have assets in the form of livestock as the way of life in rural areas is largely dependent on agriculture and subsistence, this parameter of wealth may not be as strong for urban households



2012 census

Radio Ownership

Important indicator of wealth in addition to being indicative of a household's investment in and use of energy



2012 census

Iron Sheet Roofing Ownership

As economics grow, traditional roofing material such as thatch is being replaced with more durable iron sheet roofing. Those with the economic freedom to invest in iron roofing may also be able to invest in energy.



2012 census

Ownership of cellular phone

Indicator of pay-as-you-go electricity payment viability


Region: 2016 Tanzania Energy Situation Report

Population density

Higher population density is preferable for energy markets; more customers and less distribution effort required


2012 census

Supplemental Data

Mini-grid Infrastructure

Locations of existing, proposed and potential mini-grids and transmission lines have been aggregated to reveal a holistic picture of current and potential off-grid electrification. The locations of these sites were collected through a partnership with World Resources Institute, New Ventures and Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization and are hosted on the opendata platform energydata.info.



Existing mini-grids and existing/proposed transmission lines


Proposed Mini-Grids

Tanzanian Government Contacts

Potential Hydro Sites


Electrification Growth

Our Tanzania Energy Access Market Maps are unique in that we have aggregated various data layers to provide the most accurate visualization possible using open-source survey data. Data as recent as 2016 is available at the regional level which details various aspects of the nation’s household electrification rates while 2012 Census data has district-level household electrification information in addition to regional-level. The advantage of having electrification data from different times is the ability to assess electrification growth. The Electrifications Gains 2012-2016 map was created by subtracting the % of households without electricity in 2016 from the % of households without electricity in 2012. These data are from different surveys, which inevitably used different sampling and survey methods that may lead to data discrepancies attributed to more than just time change.

Decrease in Kerosene Use

Kerosene use has decreased in Tanzania up to 44% in some regions between 2012 and 2016. This decrease is explained by increasing fuel prices and increases in use of rechargeable lights and solar power. Areas experiencing these dramatic changes are at the forefront of a national transition in fuel use and therefore may be a prospect for energy investors.  The Decrease in Kerosene Use map was created by subtracting the regional % kerosene use in 2016 from the regional % kerosene use in 2012.

Economic Buoyancy

Livestock, Iron Sheet Roofing and Radio Ownership are household assets that the WRI Energy Access team is using as indicators of economic buoyancy. Each has their own strength in representing a households wealth or ability to invest in clean energy. To create a vector of economic buoyancy which combines these three asset ownership rates, a weighted aggregation was conducted To account for the varying indicative influence of each asset. This means summing the three percentages with multiplied weights. Livestock will have a weight of 1, because it is not as strong an indicator of household of wealth as the other two. Iron roofing will have a weight of 3, radio a weight of 3. Each is weighted depending on subjective opinion using evidence detailed below:

Livestock:  Fifty-one percent of Tanzanian households are to some extent involved in rearing livestock. In rural areas, the proportion is higher, with about three out of five households reporting some income or expenditure related to livestock activities and earning an average 22 percent of total household income from livestock rearing. In urban areas, livestock activities are of lesser importance, with only 22 percent of households participating. (Livestock and Livelihoods in Tanzania)". "The 2012/13 National Panel survey revealed 50% of all households keep livestock (4.6 million households), 62% of which are rural and 23% urban" (Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative). Because of this complication, livestock has the lowest weight in the aggregation of wealth indicators.

Iron Sheet Roofing: Majority of homes in Tanzania have iron sheet roofing. Those which do not have iron sheet roofing have grass, mud and/or leaves. Those who are economically able to invest in iron roofing may also have the economic buoyancy to invest in clean energy. This indicator will be weighted heavily in the aggregation of wealth indicators. (Figure Source)

Radio: "Concerning ownership of assets, results show that a mobile phone was the most commonly owned asset by households (80 percent), followed by house (75 percent), radio (70 percent) and hand hoe (54 percent)(source)”. This is an important indicator of wealth in addition to being indicative of a household's investment in and use of energy. This indicator will be weighted heavily in the aggregation.

[(% Livestock * 1) + (% Iron Sheet Roofing *3) + (% Radio *3)] / 7 = New Economic Buoyancy Vector

Renewable resources are a limitless source of sustainable energy and should be considered in the identification of viable energy markets. Extensive solar and wind mapping efforts have been made in the past few years to promote awareness about and investment in the renewable energy resources in Tanzania. 

One of the most interesting initial findings was that certain areas of Tanzania with high solar irradiation also have high wind speeds at night, raising the possibility of round-the-clock power generation.




Solar Atlas: Yearly PVOUT – Photovoltaic power potential [kWh/kWp] (2016)


30 arcsec (nominally 1 km)

World Bank Group https://globalsolaratlas.info/downloads/tanzania


Tanzania - Mesoscale Wind Mapping Phase1 (2015)


2 Km resolution

World Bank Group https://energydata.info/dataset/tanzania-mesoscale-wind-mapping-phase1-2015


Existing Solar Sites


Normal: Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO)

Mini: https://energydata.info/dataset/mini-grid-locations-in-tanzania

Existing Wind Sites



Data Source Details

Energy Access Situation Report 2016

Table 4.1: Percentage Distribution of Households Connected to Electricity by Region and Place of Residence

Table 5.2: Percentage Distribution of Population Accessing Grid Electricity by Region and Place of Residence

Table 6.8: Percentage Distribution of Household Members by Region, Place of Residence, Sex of Heads and Ownership of Mobile Phones

4.2 Energy Connection: is assessing connectivity of electricity to the main dwelling of the household

5.31 Energy Access: definition refers to population benefiting from electricity irrespective of the household being connected to electricity

Population and Housing Census 2012

Q43: What are the main roofing materials used for the main building of this household? (Multiple Choice, Iron Roofing is option)

Q49: What is the main source of energy used by this household for lighting? (multiple choice)

Have Electricity/Have no Electricity? (check box)

Q52: Does your household have/own the following assets? Radio (Yes/No)

Q55: Was any member of this household engaged in raising cattle, goats, sheep or poultry up to the census night? (Yes/No)