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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.

  • Impacts of the improvements in the reliability of the grid, especially for firms

  • Political economy and governance

    The governance, political economy and institutions of the energy sector in Tanzania. Including the political economy of hydrocarbons, infrastructure decisions, use of resource rents, and pricing; the role of development assistance, foreign investment, and state aid from non-traditional donors in the energy sector.

  • Energy demand

    Assessments of rural and urban energy demands; willingness to pay; the causes and consequences of household energy consumption using petrol generators, LNG gas, charcoal etc.; the impact of off grid solar and other renewables on outcomes such as household production, education etc.

  • Energy supply

    Tanzania faces the common dilemma of attracting investment to an uncertain energy market. Key issues of interest: cost and investment return modelling for energy infrastructure; productivity models of rural energy infrastructure, agricultural production and processing, and smallholder manufacturing; investment decision for independent power producers; impact of public energy investment projects; off grid production and micro-grids.