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The rising powers, clean development and the low carbon transition in Sub-Saharan Africa

Client: Economic and Social Research Council, Durham University

Period: 2012 – 2015

Project leader: Prof. Marcus Power (Durham University)

Local project participant (as part of international team): Gisela Prasad

This is a three-year project which seeks to examine why, how and to what extent China, Brazil and India are enabling a low carbon energy transition in Southern Africa. This interdisciplinary project aims to develop new frameworks for analysis in order to systematically compare the roles that rising powers are playing in this transition. It specifically analyses how they are shaping the provision of energy services for productive uses (e.g. cooking, lighting and mobility) and assesses the consequent implications for the affordability, accessibility and sustainability of energy services in the region. The project also assesses the implications for the wider governance of energy and climate change at the local, national, regional and global scales.

Specific aims and objectives:

  • To advance theoretical understanding of the nature of low carbon transitions in Southern Africa.
  • To analyse the political economy of the role of China and Brazil in low carbon transitions in Southern Africa.
  • To assess the technically, socially and spatially differentiated nature of the low carbon transitions being created by China and Brazil in the region.
  • To assess the implications for governance and development

The project is implemented by a multi-discplinary team from Durham University, the University of Sussex, The University of Cape Town, the Centre for Strategic Studies and Management, and Practical Action, as well as several consultative partners.