Power to the people in Vanuatu

May 12, 2016

Vanuatu is providing a one-time investment subsidy to poor families to allow them to connect to electricity grids.


75% of homes in Vanuatu still do not have electricity access. The two key reasons for this: the cost remains too expensive for most ni-Vanuatu, as well as the dispersed nature of the country; with 260,000 people living on 64 inhabited islands across hundreds of square kilometers of ocean.


The Improved Electricity Project aims to increase access to grid-based electricity for low-income families. The project provides a one-off subsidy of up to 80% for the cost of household connection, to make electricity available for 4,000 of Vanuatu’s lowest-income families. The project also contributes to improving safety standards by subsidizing the cost of household wiring up to 40,000 vatu, where the wiring is not to standard, and will provide energy saving light bulbs.


The project was approved in June 2014 and became effective in September 2014, and as of December 2015, more than 521 homes have now obtained electricity access. The availability of electricity access has reduced the need to use torches and kerosene lighting, which are very dangerous.


" It also helps life in home to be easier. I think everyone should have electricity in Vanuatu. "

Learin Tari

Student and resident of Lungaville

Bank Group Contribution

The US$4.85 million Improved Electricity Access Project is funded through the Global Partnership On Output-based Aid.


The project is managed by the World Bank (IDA) and funded through the Global Partnership On Output-based Aid.

Moving Forward 

The project builds on years of work led by the government and assisted by the World Bank to build a stronger energy sector that delivers safe, affordable and sustainable energy to the people of Vanuatu. The country has now set a target of 90% electricity access by 2020 and the project will play a key role in meeting that target.


Luganville resident and student Learin Tari knows firsthand about the benefits of electricity. Her family was among the first in Vanuatu to receive a subsidized connection under the project.

“We use electricity to charge mobile phones, watch TV and also it gives us bright lights,” she said. “It also helps life in home to be easier. I think everyone should have electricity in Vanuatu.”

521 homes have access to electricity