Green Growth Diagnostics for Africa

Home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, sub-Saharan Africa is currently facing a large electricity deficit, which results in frequent black-out periods and has an impact on education, health and business. This project is looking into the heart of the electricity supply crisis in Africa, asking what are the key blockages to green investment and how can we resolve them?

Staff clean the solar array panels at the Karen Blixen Camp in the Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya. Credit: M. Ostergaard - Panos

We are a research consortium based in Ghana, Kenya and the UK looking for the key areas of policy interventions to remove obstacles to investment in renewable technologies.

Once these areas have been identified, we ask how can these initiatives successfully navigate the choppy waters of real-world politics?

Six steps to Green Investment Diagnostics*

  1. Identify target technologies that are economically and financial viable
  2. Use economic and social indicators organised in a hierarchical decision-tree framework (see opposite) to make comparative assessment of potential constraints to investment in these technologies.
  3. Identify policy areas which are the most ‘binding’ via a deeper search for diagnostic evidence in areas identified as potentially problematic
  4. Identify most viable policy options in these areas given political economy realities in the country concerned using political economy analysis
  5. Simulate growth and distributional implications of increased investment in RE using Computable General Equilibrium modelling
  6. Model impacts of the integration of intermittent renewable energy generation in the national grid using power systems reliability analysis

Project updates

*Our approach: building on the original “Growth Diagnostics” metholodology

This project draws on the “Growth Diagnostics Approach” developed by Haussmann et al (2004) (PDF) which aimes identify the key constraints holding back economic growth from its full potential. Their approach was driven by the needs of policymakers facing the dilemma that most problems have multiple causes, but governments cannot tackle all of them at once, given limitations in their financial and executive capacity.

Image credit: M. Osertgaard – Panos

Key contacts

Project details

start date
15 January 2014
end date
31 January 2017


About this project

Programmes and centres
Business and Development Centre
Ghana Kenya


Recent work

Working Paper

From Growth to Green Investment Diagnostics

IDS Working Paper;472

The need to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy systems is now broadly accepted, and our understanding of how different policy mechanisms can support this process is growing.

29 July 2016