Investigating the Economic and Social Impact of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Fund (REF-1) Program through a Gender Computable General Equilibrium Model

Increasing rural electrification is critical to development and gender empowerment in rural communities. Electrification enhances agricultural, industrial, commercial, and other economic and social activities in rural areas. Moreover, it promotes the use of domestic electrical appliances that reduce the burden of household tasks typically allocated to women. This paper uses a gender-aware modelling approach to investigate the potential impacts of the Nigerian government’s rural electrification fund on the development of rural communities and specifically assesses the policy’s differential impacts on men and women’s employment and income. To that end, a 2019 gendered Nigerian Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) is used to calibrate a gendered CGE model. The findings show that expanding the supply of electricity through the government program increases market employment for women, factor incomes, and output in the agricultural sector. The study recommends that the government subsidy alone is not sufficient to produce the desired economic outcomes but will need to be complemented with policies that enhances productivity and efficiency.