Most current power sector reforms in Africa today consist of deregulation, privatisation and the use of new institutional arrangements as a complement to the electricity projects implemented by the state owned utilities. As the variety of institutional models of organisations increase there is also a growingneed to analyse the specific characteristics of the different organisational forms.
There is no single most appropriate organisation for electricity services in rural areas. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide arguments for, and demonstrate benefits of, the use of SWOT-analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) as a tool for obtaining a deeper understanding of the situation for organisations involved in rural electricity services. Through the use of SWOT-analysis as a simple model, discussions have been held during 2002-2003 with five organisations engaged in electricity services in rural areas of Zambia and Tanzania. The result from the study suggest that SWOT-analysis is a useful tool for organisations to obtain a good overall picture of their situation and that some initial observations can be made regards similarities and differences of the studied organisations, for example on transparency, staff and management capacity and economic issues.