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Special Studies of Strategic Significance Theme Group 

 (Call for Proposals - 2002 Closed 5th March, 2002)


The African energy sector is facing rapid changes that originate from both internal and external developments. The pace of change also appears to be accelerating. Some of these changes present important opportunities for development and improvement of the African energy sector. Other changes increase risks that require pre-emptive response measures.

 For example, an important and rapid development that has outpaced the response capability of the African energy decision makers and research community relates to the ongoing international climate negotiations. Since the signing of the Rio Environment Agreement and Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the pace of change has been very rapid. African researchers and decision makers have become virtual spectators rather than active participants in debate on issues such as greenhouse trading, incremental costing and joint implementation (since then, known as activities implemented jointly and now clean development mechanism). The principal convention financing instrument, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has been transformed in a space of few years from a concept to a multi-billion dollars financing mechanism which is larger than many bilateral assistance programmes to the energy sector in Africa.

 A mechanism for effectively responding to these rapid changes is clearly needed by the African energy research and decision making community. This theme group on Special Studies of Strategic Significance is designed to assist in filling this important gap in the region. The Theme Group on Special Studies of Strategic Significance was established by AFREPREN/FWD to assist the Network as well as the wider African energy community to respond to these rapid changes that are not addressed by its three main Theme Groups, namely: (i) Renewables and Energy for Rural Development (ii) Energy Services for the Urban Poor; and, (iii) Energy Sector Reforms.

Key issues that would be addressed by the Special Studies of Strategic Significance include the following:-

 i) Co-generation and associated demand side management (DSM) issues.

 ii) Environmental and socio-economic impacts of large-scale energy developments (e.g. large scale dams, coal mines and oil pipelines)

 iii) Energy Services for the Urban Poor:

  • Innovative institutional options for improving the informal sector’s access to energy services (e.g. micro-electricity distributors, micro-level distributors of kerosene and LPG)

  • Assessment of appropriate energy technology options for the informal sector

  • Energy consumption patterns in low income urban micro-enterprises

  • Energy consumption patterns in low income home-based urban micro-enterprises

 iv) Renewables and Energy for Rural Development

  • Appropriate energy technologies for income generation among the rural poor. 

  • Cost-benefit assessment of PV and other rural energy options (e.g. micro&pico hydro, biomass gasifiers, windpumps) for income generation.

  • Impact of appropriate energy options on productivity of the rural poor (agricultural, small-scale processing and service).

  • Impact of appropriate energy technologies on income generation and employment creation among the rural poor (possible number of jobs created, amount of income generated).

  • Lessons learned from effective distribution of conventional rural energy technologies (e.g. small scale diesel & petrol sets (generators, water pumps, maize mills, etc) that are relevant to renewables and other cleaner options. 

  • Assessment of the success/failure of conventional rural electrification programmes

  • Socio-economic assessment of 2 contrasting approaches for providing energy to rural enterprises: energisation (encompasses both electricity and non-electrical options) and electrification (extension of the grid).

  v) Energy Sector Reform

  •  Opportunities for local small and medium scale entrepreneurs in a reformed power sector 

  • Assessment of the extent to which power sector reforms have led to:

    • Improved technical and financial performance of the power utility

    • Expanded electrification particularly rural electrification and for the urban poor

  • Leakage of energy subsidies to the non-poor.

  •  Appropriateness of single sector (electricity) regulatory agencies compared to multi-sectoral (electricity, telecommunications, water, transport, etc) regulatory agencies for African countries

  • Lessons learned from reforms of the other sectors (eg. telecommunications and water)

The Call for Proposals  was closed on 5th March 2002 and AFREPREN/FWD is not accepting late applications.

Details on the next call for proposal will be communicated on this website as soon as the requisite funding is mobilised

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