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Researching policy reforms in Zambia’s energy sector

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OPM-led Energy and Economic Growth (EEG) research programme hosted a scoping workshop in Zambia to identify priority research needs in the country and inform policies and investment decisions in Zambia’s power sector.

Organised in collaboration between the EEG programme, Zambian Ministry of Energy, and the UK Department for International Development, this workshop brought together 70 participants from public, private, and academic sectors, working in the energy field – to help create a framework which will guide systematic and coordinated research into the country’s energy sector, as well as provide evidence about innovation challenges in the sector.

As part of their work in Zambia, the EEG team developed a set of research questions following key stakeholder interviews with the Government, development banks, regulators, and service providers. Focusing on the areas of grid access and reliability, efficient and productive energy use, and renewable energy, workshop participants discussed priority research needs for the future:

  • Climate change was highlighted as the most important area – future research should develop climate information specific to Zambia, and deepen the understanding around climate change impacts on the energy sector.
  • Ensuring universal access to energy is another priority area, however, there exist a knowledge gap on how to best use subsidies to achieve this. In addition, further research into behavioural patterns is needed to support the shift away from charcoal use.

This work was part of a wider EEG research on power systems in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which aims to generate valuable evidence around the critically under-researched links between energy and economic growth.

Sustainable energy solutions are vital for ensuring energy access for all on the continent. This work will help support energy demand and supply in Africa in the coming years, while also helping countries tackle climate change and avoid becoming locked in high carbon infrastructure.