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Urbanisation and energy consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ali, Muez Ali Abdelgadir; (2023) Urbanisation and energy consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest electrification rate and highest urbanisation and population growth rates globally. The increase in population and its move towards urban areas is expected to put pressure on existing energy infrastructures and government budgets, introducing uncertainty in the path that future resource consumption might take. Research on the effects of urbanisation on energy use in Sub-Saharan Africa is scarce, with few studies only looking at this issue in two countries. Furthermore, the institutional structure and quality of governance of Sub-Saharan African governments and the policies they implement to deliver energy to urban and rural residents in African cities are seldom studied. This research explores the relationship between urbanisation and energy consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa in three ways, starting from an aggregate level and zooming in to the household level. First, by estimating the effect of urbanisation on energy consumption while controlling for demographic, economic and geographic factors using econometric analysis of country-level data. Second, by studying the impact of the quality of governance across countries on electricity access in urban areas. And third, focusing on one country, by investigating how access to electricity for rural and urban poor households is influenced by government policy using data on household electricity consumption in Rwanda. This thesis quantifies the effect of urbanisation on total energy consumption and electricity consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa using country-level data on 44 Sub-Saharan African countries. The results of the analysis show that urbanisation has a positive and significant effect on total energy consumption but no effect on electricity consumption. Then, using a multimethod approach involving econometric analysis of country-level and project-level data and country case studies, investigates the relationship between governance and electricity access in urban and rural areas. The findings suggest a negative relationship between governance and urban electrification, where urban electricity access is prioritised with more autocratic governments with low quality of governance and rural electrification is prioritised with more democratic governments with higher quality of governance. Ghana, Gambia, Togo and Benin are presented as examples where these dynamics manifest. Finally, using household level data and exploiting Rwanda’s post-genocide settlement policies, this thesis explores the impact of government policy on the likelihood of households having access to electricity. The results show that households living in government planned settlements are more likely to have access to electricity than their counterparts in isolated or spontaneous settlements. The original contribution of this research is in quantifying the effect of urbanisation on energy consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing descriptive and empirical evidence of the relationship between governance and urban electrification, and quantifying the impact of policy on access to electricity for low-income households.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Urbanisation and energy consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167703
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