Sustainability in Kenya's energy and development: an alien concept?

Said Mbogo Abdallah

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Energy technologies, especially seen from the viewpoint of their importance as facilitators of development, are physical as well as social phenomena. This understanding is critical when considering energy that can advance sustainable development. Drawing from scholarly work, this development is taken to mean the same thing as sustainability. More importantly, although there has been much debate, particularly within the scientific community, there is agreement that the development needs to be balanced. The balance envisioned is on advancement in each of three key attributes or dimensions of the development; namely economic, social and environmental attributes. It would however appear that the social dimension is in many cases given low priority compared to the other dimensions, and this happens equally for energy technologies that drives the development. With a view to elevating priority of social aspects of sustainability, insights into technologies and policies for energy provision and use are studied and presented in this thesis. The central argument in the thesis is that energy needs to be provided and used taking full account of social contexts. Studies on Kenya underscore paucity of socially relevant energy for sustainable development. From the research done, it is clear that there are social cognitive factors that give rise to a skewed understanding of sustainable energy. It is also evident that this type of energy and the technologies associated with it are primarily seen as means for advancement of environmental and economic interests. Research investigations for the thesis indicate that subordination of social interests is largely notable in the case of developed countries, or societies of the North. The skewed understanding of sustainable energy seems to have been extended to developing countries, or societies of the South, largely via international development assistance mechanisms. For the Kenya case, and generally for the South it is recommended in the thesis that a cognitive and cultural reorientation be sought. This is with an aim of aligning the understanding and behaviour towards sustainable energy in a way that promotes social interests of sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Clancy, Joy Sheila, Supervisor
  • Bressers, Hans T.A., Co-Supervisor
  • Moturi, W.N., Advisor, External person
Award date24 Jun 2016
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4144-2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2016


  • METIS-317118
  • IR-100585


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