Energy Expenditure and Fuel Choices among Households in the Sidama Region, Southern Ethiopia

Tarekegn Mamo Legamo, Milan Ščasný, Workalemahu Tasew


Using the data from an original survey, we analyse energy use patterns and, in particular, energy use for cooking in households from Hawassa City, Southern Ethiopia. Cooking is the main energy-related activity on which households spend money. This expenditure represents 89% of total energy expenditure and a fifth of a household’s total budget. Expenditure on modern energy and electricity represents only about a fifth of an energy budget, whilst fuelwood, a potentially health damaging energy, still prevails as the main energy used for cooking in Hawassa. There are, however, large differences in energy use between urban and suburban areas. While fuelwood and charcoal are the main sources for cooking among the poorest households, and fuelwood is the dominant source for cooking in suburban locations, electricity is the energy source used mainly in urban areas and especially among richer households. Our research is also in line with results found for other countries in sub-saharan Africa. Energy expenditure, as well as the use of electricity for cooking, are both sharply increasing with household income. The effect of income on using fuelwood is the opposite. Large families are more likely to prefer fuelwood and less likely to choose charcoal. Female-headed households are more likely to choose charcoal for cooking; however, if females  make decisions about household purchases, they  prefer to use fuelwood. Formal education increases the likelihood of using cleaner electricity and decreases the usage of fuelwood. Formal education, alongside income, seems to be the key factor in moving from traditional health-damaging energy sources towards modern and clean energy sources.

Keywords: energy for cooking; fuel choices; energy expenditure; fuelwood; Southern Ethiopia

JEL Classifications: Q2, Q4


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