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Just stranded assets transitions and the informal sector in sub-Saharan Africa

This project builds on the work that led to the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa’s flagship report on Africa’s Development in the Age of Stranded Assets, which was supported by IDRC. This research aims to address the intersection between stranded hydrocarbon assets and various forms of risks and inequities affecting energy access in the informal sector in sub-Saharan Africa. This sector contributes to roughly 40% of the gross domestic product of the continent.

The research will examine the meaning and potential for just (i.e., equitable) low-carbon transitions from an African perspective that considers the historical context of dependence on hydrocarbons beyond the formal sector already covered in the literature. It will explore opportunities for ways in which the informal sector can lead the transition towards decarbonized economies.

Through this, the research will contribute to improved understanding of effective strategies for addressing energy shortages, triggering energy entrepreneurship, and strengthening adaptation and resilience in the informal sector in a manner that is equitable and just. The project will also consider how the COVID-19 crisis has affected or may affect decision-making rates and priorities, as well as economic shifts, in the coming months and whether this uncovers possibilities for short-term actions or, on the contrary, presents higher barriers to change.

This work will be conducted in collaboration with national and sub-national governments and relevant civil society, professional, trade, specialist academic and other research institutions in five selected case study countries. The case study countries will include Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia, and Zambia, to cover the broad range of perspectives from countries at different stages of hydrocarbon exploration and production.

Project ID
Project Status
12 months
IDRC Officer
Michele Leone
Total Funding
CA$ 591,200.00
Institution Country
United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa