Solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa: The challenges and opportunities of technological leapfrogging

Joseph Amankwah-Amoah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For decades, Africa was generally perceived as the dumping ground for obsolete technologies. In recent years, technological leapfrogging, which is associated with the newly industrialized economies in Asia, has transpired in some key industries. In this article, we present the solar photovoltaic industry as one such industry and an integrated model of scaling up solar technologies. We identified five unique models aimed at scaling up solar energy in Africa: state-led, nongovernmental organization and other agency–led, emerging-market multinational enterprises–led, Avon, and pay-as-you-go models. Our analysis focused on four countries in particular (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya) and Africa in general. Despite the promising opportunities of this industry, a number of factors such as high up-front capital costs and limited end-user financing schemes have limited the technological process. We conclude by outlining the implications of the findings for theory and practice. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Volume57(1), 15–31.
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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