Department of Business Development and Technology

The financial risks and barriers to electricity infrastructure in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique: A critical and systematic review of the academic literature

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The recent academic literature contains a number of hypotheses, drivers, or explanations to reveal why electricity infrastructure isn't being developed within sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the 21st century. In this paper, we argue that this literature is misdirected, or at least incomplete, in how it approaches risk. We hypothesise that this lack of infrastructure development in the region reflects a dearth of investment due to the existence of excessive negative uncertainties or risks – as investment is a function of uncertainty and reward – but that the recent academic literature appears to not appreciate this. To make this argument, we chose a manageable sample of three African countries, which already had a notable body of academic literature concerning them: Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania. Focusing on these countries, we then undertook a systematic review of 815 ‘peer reviewed’ papers published on the academic libraries of Scopus and/or the Web of Science on the topic of electricity, infrastructure, and risk over a five-year period to see how this literature evaluated the problem. Drawing from the most relevant 101 studies within that sample, we critically examine the methodological, conceptual, and empirical aspects of this literature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Policy
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

    Research areas

  • Eastern Africa, Electricity supply, Energy access, Energy poverty, Financial risk

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