ISSC concept note: Africa – Low carbon energy transitions

  • Published 09/04/15

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Although millions of dollars have been pumped into assisting those living at the base/bottom of the pyramid to transit from inefficient energy use to more efficient and cleaner energy use, few results can be shown. We argue that the main reason why the dominant business models have not been effective is because of the dominance of the wrong underlying assumptions leading to lock-in and path dependency of these business models. What has been lacking is more understanding of the social, cultural and political understandings of the technologies and their introduction into homes and businesses in Africa.

If we are to move towards low carbon economies in Africa, there is also a need to change the underlying assumptions to ensure a more socially responsive and inclusive approach. There is also a need to understand the political economy of low carbon development at national and regional levels on the continent as this drives research, investment, and uptake of the technology on the continent.

This concept note is the outcome of ongoing deliberations amongst stakeholders involved in the emerging African sustainability networked hub coordinated by the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi, Kenya in close collaboration with other African partners and the STEPS Centre UK. The ideas behind this proposal were developed at an ISSC planning meeting in Nairobi.

This concept note is part of the ISSC Transformative Knowledge Network programme.