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Title: Energy demand and economic development in southern Africa : opportunities and constraints.
Author: Kafumba, Charles Raphael Utonga.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3593 8574
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 1992
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The purpose of this study is to profile and conceptualize the contemporary energy predicaments confounding Southern Africa. We examine the dynamics of the structural interplay between the main attributes of the energy demand function and growth within the analytical framework of the political economy of development as it has evolved over time in Southern Africa. The study thus provides new perspectives on key energy policy issues thereby facilitate a deeper understanding of the real nature and root cause of the now epidemic "energy crises" affecting both 'modern' and 'traditional' fuels. It also seeks to advance the debate on how the African energy policy process can effectively be reoriented so as to foster a sustainable development agenda where issues of the environment, equity and provision of basic needs for human survival are placed at the centre stage of development. We argue that the on-going "energy-crises" in Southern Africa constitutes a complex development management dilemma ingrained in its structural state of underdevelopment whose genesis lies in the manner in which it was colonized the process by which it was simultaneously incorporated and marginalised onto the fringes of the global capitalist economy and the regional economic subsystem of migrant labour centered on RSA. Manifestations of these conditions are mirrored in the now rampant 'African Crises' of accumulation whose components have variably included: sharp rise in imported fuel costs; poor TOT; foreign exchange liquidity squeeze; mounting foreign debt; population explosion; unbridled urbanization; land-use conflicts; and deforestation. The immensi ty of the energy challenge posed by these structural condi tions has been heightened and made more apparent by the effects of (i) oil price criSis; (ii) onslaught of RSA's "Total strategy" for the destabilisation of the SADCC region and (iii) reliance on inappropriate imitative development policies promulgated on the now discredited modernization paradigm. We contend that the modernization paradigm, upon which conventional energy analysis and policy hypotheses are currently propagated, cannot be relied upon in matters relating to Africa's energy analysis no less than in general economic development. The intellectual poverty of this dominant paradigm lies in its failure to adequately incorporate the African energy question by way of offering definitive hypotheses to expedite the articulation and in depth understanding of the nature of the energy problem let alone assist in its better management. In spite of evidence which supports a robust positive correlation between energy use and growth, there still lacks an unambiguous statistical base with which to support claims of a 'rock-steady' unidirectional causality linkage from GOP to energy. We demonstrate that GOP is not the sole determinant of energy demand and that the energy-GOP interplay is a two-way process. In addition to measurement and conceptual problems affecting conventional planning tools,its derived hypotheses are founded on modern fuels which account for only 10-30% of national balances of the majority of SADCC states. The danger with this partial analysis is that it presents a highly fragmented and misleading picture of the African energy system. Indeed, when traditional fuels are brought into the reckoning the majority of the available conventional hypotheses crumble. Moreover, such a partial analysis exposes energy policies to the risk of missing out important synergistic effects such as fuel-mix, inter-fuel substitution and other demand attributes thereby rendering any polices dangerously unsound and unsafe. Thus, reliance on these hypotheses has contributed to the misplacement of the policy process by nurturing unwarranted misconceptions about the nature of the energy problem facing Africa and thus the definition of key issues requiring attention. We conclude that the southern African region has undergone a particular development process which has bestowed its energy system with unique sets of demand and supply attributes. These differ from those of the West and thus profoundly alter the aim of energy analysis and policy objectives. Because energy is not an energy management issue, but a development management problem, lasting solutions must be sought from within the development purview. We underscore the theme that because energy-GDP interplay is a two-way process coupled with the fact that development and underdevelopment are two sides of the same coin , the energy issue cannot be quarantined from the wider recalcitrant of Africa's 'crises of development'. Thus, it is not possible to comprehend let alone seek solutions to such deeprooted and intertwined development dilemmas without a systems analysis of the political economy of development as it has evolved over time. We contend that it is this structural focus that has been a major missing component in past energy policy debates which the present thesis attempts to plug. In addition to informing planners and decision makers of new developments af~ecti~g the~r energy ~y~tems, the planning process must inter ~ aam . at determ~n~ng the extent of socio-economic transformat~ons necessary to improve the security of energy supplies, .living standards of the population at large, bridge technologlcal gaps and minimize environmental damage of energy development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics & economic theory Economics Energy conservation Energy conservation