Building capacity towards what? Proposing a framework for the analysis of energy transition governance in the context of urban informality in Sub-Saharan Africa
journal contributionposted on 16.08.2021, 07:03 by Z Kovacic, JK Musango, K Buyana, A Ambole, S Smit, B Mwau, M Ogot, S Lwasa, Alan BrentAlan Brent
There is an emerging scholarship that criticises the conceptualisation of urban informality from a deficit view and emphasises that informality constitutes a way of life, a practice in its own right. We argue that energy is part of the informal way of life and that energy transitions need to take into account the specificities of urban informality when used for policy. Acknowledging energy practices is necessary to improve the justice of energy transitions, including the urban poor in energy transitions without denying the legitimacy of slum dwellers’ ways of life. In this paper, we analyse energy governance in informal urban settlements as implemented by national governments, municipalities and non-governmental organisations, with case studies from Sub-Saharan Africa. We develop a policy analysis framework that assesses (1) the practices of problem definition; (2) the creation of policy options and strategy; (3) the mix of capacities mobilised; and (4) the type of instruments used. The framework is applied to three case studies of energy policies in informal settlements in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. Results show a strong preference for regulation and technological fixes and do not create capacity to acknowledge and integrate the specific challenges of urban informality and informal ways of life in energy policy, hence falling short of addressing social justice in energy transitions.