Transforming Access to Clean Technology: Learning From Lighting Africa

Working Paper
  • Published 06/09/19

STEPS Working Paper 110
September 2019

UK AID has recently invested in a new £39.8 million programme that aims to transform access to modern energy cooking services, or MECS, in Africa and Asia. In this working paper we demonstrate how reframing our understanding of how transformations happen in access to clean energy technologies, foregrounding the social and the political, together with more sophisticated, systemic understandings of how sustained technological change and innovation occurs, can increase the chances of transformative change that is environmentally sustainable and socially just. This moves beyond the largely unsuccessful track record of past interventions that tended to focus only on technology hardware and finance. The working paper analyses the case of Lighting Africa, which successfully transformed access to solar lighting in Kenya and, as far as we are aware, conceptualises and illustrates for the first time Lighting Africa’s approach. This builds on past STEPS research that focusses on building sociotechnical innovation systems.

A sumary briefing of this paper is also available.

Cite this publication

Ockwell, D.; Byrne, R.; Chengo, V.; Onsongo, E.; Fodio Todd, J. and Atela, J. (2019) Transforming Access to Clean Technology: Learning from Lighting Africa, STEPS Working Paper 110, Brighton: STEPS Centre