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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

  • The economic cost of unserved electricity

    In a span of three decades, Ghana experienced five episodes of power crises with increasing duration and severity. The government together with various stakeholders is working to arrest the situation. However, the first step in determining the optimal level grid expansion and tolerable level and durations of power outages is an understanding of the socio-economic costs of unserved energy.


    IGC Ghana will appreciate studies which estimate the costs of unserved energy to the various sectors and to the economy as a whole.

  • Renewable sources of energy in the power generation

    In order to meet the energy requirements to maintain the economic growth momentum – approximately GDP 7%, there is need to understand the optimal combination of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy generation. Development of a framework for long term energy security to support sustainable growth is needed.

  • The impact and sustainability of off-grid solutions (e.g. solar, wind and mini-hydro power plants) and understanding the rural energy mix in Zambia

    The electrification programmes currently being implemented include off-grid solutions such as solar and mini-hydro power plants. Research in this area might consider the impact of these systems thus far in terms of benefits for the community and their sustainability and potential to link to grid connections.

    Electrification rates in Zambia remain extremely low, particularly in rural areas. Research into the fuel sources that sustain households and firms in rural areas, and how local energy markets can be improved to meet the needs of firms and households is therefore needed. Topics of interest include both alternative and traditional fuels, as well as the costs associated with different energy sources.

    Studies in this area should also consider the current institutional capacity to deliver on the ambitious electrification plans and the effectiveness of coordination amongst relevant institutions.

  • The impact of access and availability of electricity on firm productivity, and education and health outputs and outcomes

    Limited evidence exists on the impact of access to electricity in Zambia on relevant outcomes such as productivity of firms, employment, education outcomes and household health. Further research on this topic would help inform future policy design and facilitate better-targeted programmes.

  • Approaches for the promotion of electricity access for households, small businesses and social institutions (schools, clinics, etc.)

    The Rural Electrification Authority and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) are currently implementing a number of electrification programmes. Research questions investigating pricing structures and strategies, poverty impact as well as the influence more broadly of recent power shortages on consumer willingness to connect, are considered priorities.

    Studies in this area should also consider the current institutional capacity to deliver on the ambitious electrification plans and the degree of coordination amongst relevant institutions.