Exploring energy access and use trends in Tsumkwe, Namibia : an end-user perspective

Neumbo, Johanna Nangula (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this thesis is to establish a tangible metric by which to evaluate the impact of modern energy access on the livelihoods of rural Sub-Sahara African communities. The narrative is set in Tsumkwe, a remote rural Namibian location some 596 km north-east from the main capital city Windhoek. Initiatives aimed at rural electrification and energy provision are expected to reduce poverty as well as contribute to the community’s general wellbeing. However, determining the relationship between energy and development is quite a challenging undertaking. An analysis that is either exclusively quantitative or qualitative runs the risk of providing a skewed picture of the energy-development-poverty nexus. In this thesis, quantitative data is embedded within qualitative data as an attempt to examine the nexus and to translate how intervention programmes are transformed into outcomes in order to gauge success of a project. The transformative paradigm shaped the theoretical framework and informed the mixed-method research approach while the capability approach was used to analyse plurality and individualisation of policy impacts. Consequently, the role of place is positioned at the centre in gauging experiences of the poor vis-à-vis the importance of locating resources and capabilities to address socio-economic issues within a geographical location. The injustice of energy poverty can be viewed as unequal access to energy services (i.e. distributional injustice) as well as an intervention that failed to recognise the needs of certain groups and potentiality offered by place. From this, the concept of an energy poverty penalty is qualitatively developed. It was found that the penalty, although it is more pronounced in the low income groups, is exacerbated by choice offered in an energy basket thus affecting non-income poor households too. Therefore, the energy poor are not necessarily income-poor. It is finally concluded that while sustainable energy interventions offer the possibility to reduce energy poverty and the attendant human wellbeing index improvement they need to be grounded in a robust information base to track progress towards targets. Most existing indicators and composite indices assessing access to energy, the degree of development related to energy and deprivation of access to modern energy fail to account for the energy poverty trap.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie tesis is om ‘n tasbare meting daar te stel om die impak to toegang to moderne energie daar te stel in landelike gebied in sub-Sahara Afrika te evalueer. Die studie is uitgevore in Tsumkwe, ‘n afgeleë landelike gebied in Namibië, sowat 596 km noordoos van die hoofstad, Windhoek. Daar word veronderstel dat inisiatiewe wat daargestel word om energie en elektrisiteit toeganglik te maak vir landelike gebiede en gemeenskappe, verarming sal teewerk en gemeenskappe kan ophef. Dit is egter moelik om die verhouding tussen energie verskaffing and vooruitgang te bepaal. ‘n Studie wat net kwalitatief of kwantitatief gebaseer is, sal nie die ware toedrag van sake uitlig nie. In hierdie tesis is kwalitatiewe data verweef met kwantitatiewe data om vas te stel presies hoe effektief programme is wat daargestel is om energie aan landelike gebiede te lewer. Die transformatiewe paradigma het die teoretiese raamwerk gevorm en gelei tot die kombinasiemetode navorsingsbenadering terwyl die moontlikheids benadering gebruik is om die pluraliteit en individualisering van die beleidsimpakte te ontleed. Gevolglik, is die rol van plek in die middelpunt van die ondervindings van die armes vis-à-vis die belangrikheid van die verkryging van hulpbronne en vermoë om sosio-ekonomiese kwessies binne ‘n geografiese ligging te hanteer. Die feit dat landelike gebiede verarm is wat energie en elektrisiteit voorsiening betref, kan toegeskryf word aan die volgende: ongelyke toegang to energie dienste, programme wat nie die behoeftes van landelike gemeenskappe aanspreek nie en die potensiaal van plek waar die program aangepak word is nie voldoende aangespreek nie. In die lig van hierdie potensiële oorsake van energie verarming is die konsep energie aarmoede boete kwaliteitsgewys ontwikkel. Dit is gevind dat die boete, wat meer van toepassing is op lae inkomste groep is, beinvloed word deur die keuse wat beskikbaar gemaak is in terme van energie voorsiening. Hierdie keuse het ook ‘n invloed op die “geen-inkomste” arm groep in ‘n gemeenskap. Dit is dus duidelik dat diegene wat energie verarm nie noodwending geldelik ook verarm is nie. Die studie, ter opsomming, het tot die slotsom gekom dat hoewel tussenkomende programme wat daar gestel word om volhoubare projekte aan te bied vir energie voorsiening in landelike gebiede, energie verarming kan verminder, dit nie effektief genoeg is tensy dit opgevolg word met duidelike doelwitte nie. Die bestaanded aanduidings vir toegang tot energie, aanduidings wat energie toegang en vooruitgang evalueer is nie werklik effektief genoeg nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86730
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