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Research priorities

The IGC supports research focused on four themes:

State: This theme investigates how to improve the capacity of the public sector in developing countries to effectively deliver public goods and services that support economic growth. This includes issues such as governance and public sector management, public finance and taxation, political economy, and conflict.

Firms: This theme aims to generate knowledge related to firm capabilities and job creation. This work covers all types of firms: large, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and farms, in both formal and informal sectors. Research topics include the determinants of firm productivity and policies to stimulate trade.

Cities: This theme explores what makes cities effective centres of economic prosperity, addressing both the drivers of and constraints to growth. Issues include the economics of agglomeration, improving infrastructure and service provision, building affordable housing markets, and migration.

Energy: This theme focuses on the significant role that access to reliable energy plays in shaping the growth paths of developing countries. Topics include improving access to and quality of energy services for households and firms, rural electrification, energy efficiency, and the effects of energy consumption on health and the environment.

For more detailed information on research priorities by theme and country, please use the filters below. All applicants are strongly encouraged to view the global priorities, as well as those related to the country/s they are interested in.

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Research Theme

  • Financial sustainability in the electricity sector

    Zambia faces serious electricity supply shortages, made more serious by aging energy infrastructure and prolonged drought. At the same time, tariffs are among the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprisingly, Zambia’s electricity sector is in a financial crisis. Low tariffs also discourage private investment in the sector, limiting growth in generation capacity.

    Relevant research will contribute to understanding the factors (institutional, policy, and management) impacting the current state of the sector and approaches to improving financial sustainability. Possible topics include approaches to lowering costs and improving revenue recovery including politically acceptable approaches to raising tariffs.

  • Economic Diversification and Local Content Enhancement on the Copperbelt Mining Zone

    The economy of the Copperbelt province is heavily dependent on mining. Consequently, it has remained vulnerable to swings in copper prices and copper production. Government is concerned with reducing the growth vulnerabilities of the region through economic diversification as well we participation in the mineral value chain through local content enhancement.

    Research in this area should look at opportunities for industrial and economic diversification on the Copperbelt and unbundle feasible opportunities for local content in the Mining sector.

  • Enhancing local and Foreign Direct Investment in Zambia’s Industrial Sector

    The Zambian government is developing a National Investment Promotion Strategy aimed at growing local and FDI in the country. Research questions might address the key drivers of FDI and the efficacy of investment promotion agencies.

    Research in this area could also look at the policy and institutional bottlenecks that currently exist as well as ways of overcoming these in enhancing investment growth.

  • Employment and wage trends and urban-rural linkages

    Our recent report on Promoting Job-rich urbanisation indicates that Zambia in recent years has experienced a large drop in agricultural employment; an increase in the share of employment in urban areas, social and personal services, hospitality and construction; increase in the share of informal employment; and declining real monthly wages. What is the dynamic driving these trends? What is the impact across regions and across cities? How does it affect productivity?  What is the potential for rural-urban links to be strengthened to benefit employment in both areas?

  • Examining the potential for employment growth in Zambia’s Secondary and Tertiary cities

    Projections indicate that the largest growth rates in the urban population will be observed in Zambia’s tertiary and secondary cities.  What is driving this trend? What are prospects for employment generation in these cities under different assumptions? Can these cities offer economic opportunities and basic services to the growing populations? Are the local authorities in these areas equipped to managed this transition?