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Research project on employment, income distribution and inclusive growth: Energy, poverty and climate change

Client: South African Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Period: 2014-2015

Project leader: Gisela Prasad

Project team: Gisela Prasad, Lana Franks, Louise Tait, Whitney Pailman, Wikus Kruger

The Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth (REDI) is a national research programme aimed at deepening understanding of the dynamics of employment, incomes and economic trends. By focusing on the interconnections between these three areas, the project seeks to contribute to policy reforms and development strategies that will address South Africa’s unemployment, inequality and poverty challenges.

Under the REDI programme, the ERC is currently carrying out research on energy, poverty and climate change – focusing on addressing the following research questions:

  • How can energy poverty measurements be designed to effectively target subsidies and interventions to people who need them most?
  • What are the health costs associated with using pollluting fuels for cooking and heating?
  • Exploring the social, technical and planning challenges related to energy service delivery in urban informal areas.
  • How can clean energy enterprises lead to inclusive growth in the green economy?

The team at the University of Cape Town uses participatory methodologies to find inclusive solutions to energy problems. Four research papers will be produced as a result of this project:

  •  A “multi-dimensional energy poverty indicator” (MEPI) adapted for the South African energy context (Lana Franks and Gisela Prasad)
  • The health impact of using polluting fuels in poor households – estimating the cost to the economy (Lana Franks, Wikus Kruger and Gisela Prasad)
  • Inclusive energy service delivery in informal urban settins (Louise Tait)
  • Inclusive clean energy entrepreneurship and innovation: A catalyst for poverty alleviation, sustainable livelihoods and the economic emancipation of indigent communities (Whitney Pailman and Gisela Prasad)