- Paul Henri Leroi
Is creating wealth in rural communities possible?
Updated: Feb 25, 2021
Recent studies prior to the Covid pandemic have shown that every week, around 3 million individuals move from rural to metropolitan regions (The International Organization for Migration, 2015). This mass movement toward the urban communities has many adverse outcomes including informal urban shantytowns, strain on urban infrastructure, and joblessness.
Today, it is assessed that three billion individuals, which is 40% of the total populace, live in rural areas. A large portion of the quickest developing urban areas on the planet is in Africa and Asia. By 2050, Africa's metropolitan populace is expected to be 2.5 billion people, up from today’s level of 1.2 billion. To tackle this issue, we should initially comprehend why things are how they are.
According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, this problem is mainly caused by poverty and lack of investment in rural areas. It is estimated that 80% of women, children, and men affected by extreme poverty live in rural areas, not in cities. Furthermore, the UN council for migration determined that the number one driver of rural urban migration is economic opportunity (or lack thereof). The question we immediately ask is, with all the donations that are made every day why the situations in rural areas are not improving?
The fact is that we invest badly in these areas; generally, when we think of these communities, we think of a suffering environment where the only thing we can do is to come and give humanitarian aid. But this idea is totally wrong! Rural areas represent many high return investment opportunities.
In order to create abundance in rural areas, we need to rethink investment; we need to create opportunities for financial prosperity in villages that are similar to those in cities.
Empowering Villages (EV), a partner of EAP, has begun to address this fundamental issue through its Empower Hub pilot. Empower Hubs are solar powered business centers in off grid villages where community members will have access to reliable power, clean water, and business incubation services to scale thriving enterprises. Empowering Villages brings an ecosystem approach to transforming the economy of these communities by combining infrastructure (water, electricity and community business centers) along with enterprise enabling services and the development of soft skills through coaching.
As a part of EAP’s commitment to positive social and environmental impact, it has launched an initiative with Empowering Villages to fund empower hubs wherever it develops utility scale renewable energy projects. Often the communities around EAP energy projects lack grid electricity, and despite the proximity to power generation facilities, often remain disconnected. However, because of the partnership with EV, EAP can help bring suitable energy and enterprise solutions to these communities while powering the main grid with beautiful, clean, renewable energy. It is a win win!