Workshop on The Governance of Sustainable Energy Transitions in the Global South (IFG 4)


16-17 September 2019, Accra

From 15 to 17 September 2019, fourteen scholars from eleven countries convened on the Campus of Ghana University, Legon in Accra, in order to discuss the governance of energy systems from a Global Southern perspective. The presentations covered a broad range of regional contexts with case studies mostly from West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire) but also from East Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya) and South Africa. The scholars also drew on a wealth of different theoretical perspectives. However, a first striking commonality among the presentations was their emphasis on complex governance processes that are influenced by diverse sets of actors, not only within national boundaries but often far beyond (like e.g. US or European donor agencies or state-owned enterprises from China). The second thread of discussions addressed the often unanticipated ways in which everyday practices (e.g. in households or small enterprises) respond to changing energy policies. In contrast to the widespread expectation that energy systems could be governed in a comprehensive and systematic way, the empirical insights discussed at the workshop rather illustrated the multiple ways in which long-term strategies usually are superimposed and constrained by more ad-hoc and partly unintended dynamics. This certainly not only holds for African contexts, but the workshop demonstrated that there are distinct regional patterns in governance arrangements and some of these distinct realities are not yet properly reflected in scholarly analyses of energy governance.

The papers presented at the workshop will now be revised to form part of a proposal for a special issue in the journal ‘Energy, Sustainability and Society’.