Energy Poverty and Access Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa
: The Role of Regional Organizations in Overcoming the Problem

  • Victoria Nalule

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Energy access has gained a lot of attention following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which under Goal 7 emphasizes the access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Energy is central in addressing the major global challenges of the 21st century, including poverty, climate change, famine to mention but a few; and yet a large number of people especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) still lack access to modern energy, such as electricity, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for lighting and cooking respectively. Initiatives have been taken at an international, regional and national level to address the issue of energy access, however, the problem continues to escalate in SSA. SSA countries have common energy challenges which could be tackled with common efforts through regional cooperation. Achieving cooperative outcomes can be difficult among countries on a bilateral basis. In this regard, the employment of a broader multi-country framework which can be utilized through the existing regional organizations and international organizations might be expected to lead to greater cooperation in the energy sector.

    This possibility is the springboard for the present research. In this thesis, I identify the key regional energy cooperative mechanisms employed by SSA regional organizations and ask whether these are efficient for tackling the challenge of energy access. The primary contribution of this work is to establish and propose a new method which could be employed by SSA regional bodies in both regulatory and infrastructural energy cooperative mechanisms to ensure that regional efforts are enhanced at the national level to tackle energy access and climate change challenges. I also propose a new definition of energy access which could be employed by regional and international organizations. This is much more than a matter of improving stipulative definitions: it is intended to contribute positively to an ongoing debate on the meaning of energy access and what such access entails.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPeter Cameron (Supervisor) & Ernesto Bonafe (Supervisor)


    • Energy Access
    • Energy Justice
    • Energy Poverty
    • Climate change
    • Energy security
    • Renewable energy
    • Africa

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