Promoting ‘Smart Villages’ in less developed countries

Environment & Climate
The first phase of the Smart Villages project concludes with ‘Findings’ report

The Smart Villages Entrepreneurship Project aims to identify the framework conditions necessary for the provision of energy services to the ‘bottom billion’ who live in off-grid villages and to enable livelihood opportunities through empowerment and the provision of services (healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation). The concept of smart villages is to provide sustainable energy to rural communities and enable connectivity made possible by modern information and communication technologies. This can have a catalytic impact on the lives of villagers when appropriately integrated with other rural development initiatives and provide many of the benefits of 21st Century life to rural communities, consistent with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Now, the Smart Villages team has now published the report, ‘Smart Villages Initiative: Findings 2014-2017’, which presents an overview of the activities, findings and recommendations arising from the Smart Villages Entrepreneurship Project. The report summarises individual accounts from more than 40 workshops and capacity building events across six regions (East and West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, South America, and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico), as well as Europe and North America. The project has involved frontline workers (entrepreneurs, NGOs, development organisations, villagers and civil society organisations), policy makers and regulators, the finance community, and international experts in science, engineering and the humanities. Regional workshops have been complemented by competitions, webinars, impact studies, technical reports, reviews of the literature, books of essays, and case studies.

The project emerged from earlier work of EASAC on energy access in developing countries and was presented at the IAP meeting in Hermanus, South Africa, in December 2016. Members of IANAS, NASAC and EASAC were involved in workshops in Latin America, North America and Africa, and summary statements for policy makers have been prepared jointly with IAP’s regional networks of science academies and with the Global Young Academy.

Outcomes were reviewed by EASAC’s Advisory Committee and presented at EASAC’s Council meeting in Vienna in 2018. Aimed at policy makers, development organisations and other stakeholders in rural development, papers published in journals are aimed primarily at the academic and research communities. Also available is a book of essays addressing the key dimensions of ‘smartness’ in smart villages, written by world-leading experts but pitched at the general reader, and a pocket guide introduces the concepts of smart villages to broader audiences.

To download the current report, see the link to the right. All other reports and publications are available on the Smart Villages website ( including policy briefs and reviews of technical, social and economic issues central to the concept of smart villages.