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Durham e-Theses
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Electricity Sector Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa

ASANTEWAA, ADWOA (2023) Electricity Sector Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Electricity sector reforms has been one of the most transformative energy sector policies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in modern history. However, studies on reforms in SSA remain limited, with quantitative analysis almost non-existent. This thesis contributes to the literature on electricity sector reforms in SSA through an assessment of reform performance and its connection to key electricity sector topics in the region including investments and productive efficiency, access, and cost efficiency. The thesis is structured in a three-paper format, with each paper focused on each of the key challenges mentioned.
In Paper One, I assess the performance of electricity sector reforms in 37 SSA countries between 2000 and 2017 using a parametric multi-input multi-output distance function and a Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) approach. From this assessment, I found an effective reform model in SSA to involve vertical unbundling with an electricity law, a sector regulator, and private ownership and management of electricity assets where desirable. I also found reforms to be positively correlated with efficient investments in generation but negatively correlated with reduction in technical network losses. On the institutional front, perceptions about non-violent institutional features such as corruption and governance effectiveness were found to have no significant relationship with reform performance whereas negative perceptions about terrorism and violence were found to be negatively correlated with reform performance.
In the Second Paper, I examined the determinants of electricity access performance in 46 SSA countries from the viewpoint of reforms using a production function and SFA from 2000 to 2017. I found generation capacity adequacy and the efficiency with which electricity is produced and used to be positively correlated with the rate of access expansion. The wealth of countries was also found to be positively correlated with improved electrification outcomes while the wealth of households in a country was found to be negatively correlated with inefficiencies that interfere with electrification efforts. The reform step that was found to engender these positive electrification outcomes was the presence of a sector regulator, while unbundling and private sector participation were found to be negatively correlated with access performance.
In the Third Paper, I explored the relationship between reforms and cost of electricity services to provide an economic perspective to issues of cost under-recovery in SSA electricity systems. Through a synthesis of reform theories and case studies and using small electricity systems as a surrogate for liberalised electricity systems without competitive markets, I showed the connection between reforms and costs. I made a case for a structural approach to issues of cost under-recoverability in SSA electricity systems leveraging contestability opportunities in mobile powerplants in generation, yardstick competition in distribution and retail and regional integration of electricity markets.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Electricity Sector Reforms, sub-Saharan Africa, Electricity sector Performance, Multi-input Multi-output Distance functions, Small Electricity Systems, Electricity Access, Benchmarking, Institutions
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Mar 2023 08:15

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