Munich Personal RePEc Archive

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

Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph (2015): Solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa: The challenges and opportunities of technological leapfrogging. Published in: Thunderbird International Business Review

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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 industrialised 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, NGOs and other agencies-led, emerging market multinational enterprises-led, Avon and pay-as-you-go models. Our analysis focused on four countries (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya) in particular, 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. Key words: Africa; sub-Saharan Africa; solar; technology; policy; technological leapfrogging

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