Analysing the Political Economy of Sustainable Energy Transition in the Ghanaian Health Sector

Watch the interview with Callistus Agbaam, researcher for the EnerSHelF project at the International Centre for Sustainable Development at University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. By clicking on “continue reading →”, you can see the transcript of the interview below.

Can you shortly introduce yourself and your role in the EnerSHelF project?

My name is Callistus Agbaam. I’m a research fellow at the International Centre for Sustainable Development here at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. I work on the EnerSHelF project, specifically under work package 1, which seeks to analyze the political economy of sustainable energy transitions in the Ghanaian health sector. And to do this, I rely on a review of literature and policy documents as well as conducting personal interviews in Ghana.

What kind of interviews are you going to conduct in Ghana?

So, for work package 1.1 – which I work on – the focus will be to conduct mainly qualitative interviews with relevant stakeholders at the national level in Ghana.

Who are you interviewing?

We will be talking to a wide group of stakeholders at the national level. This will mainly include policy makers in the health and energy sectors. By this I mean the ministry of health and the ministry of energy. In addition to policy makers, we will also be talking to regulators both in the health and energy sectors. Such as the Ghana health service, the Ghana Energy Commission, and the PURC (Public Utilities Regulatory Commission). Aside regulators, we will also be talking to some power generators. Specifically, the Volta River Authority – VRA – the Bui Power Authority, and the Chamber of Independent Power Producers in Ghana – since all these are key stakeholders in the industry. Additionally, we will also interview some civil society groups operating in the health and energy space. For example, the Association of Ghana Solar Industries, the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH), the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana, the African Centre for Energy Policy – ACEP – and the Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment (KITE) – amongst many others. And also, aside civil society, another group that we will be talking to are the donors. So, both multilateral and bilateral donors who are active in the field. For instance, we will be talking to the World Bank, the GIZ, the African Development Bank, the European Union Mission in Ghana and a lot of others. Finally, we will also be talking to independent experts. People who have worked in the field for some time now and are able to provide some deep insight into whatever we are researching.

What do you want to find out with the interviews?

Mainly, we want to understand the factors that influence institutional change towards sustainable energy transition in Ghana with a key focus on the health sector. As you know, solar PVs were introduced to Ghana in the late 1980s, early 1990s, but from that time up until now, the process of diffusion has been relatively slow. So, through these interviews we basically want to find out why this is the case from an institutional economics perspective.

How does it contribute to the EnerSHelF project as a whole?

First of all, the overall objective of the EnerSHelF project is to understand how solar PVs may contribute to both secure and stabilize energy supply for health facilities in Ghana. And in doing so, the aim is to contribute to SDG 3 – which is on good health and well-being – and SDG 7 – which focuses on access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy. To be able to do this, it then becomes very important to understand the institutional context within which the diffusion of clean energy technologies, in this case solar PVs, does occur. So, the result from work package 1.1 – which I work on – feeds into this overall project goal by enabling and understanding […] the institutional context. Particularly, by highlighting the key stakeholders or coalitions of change-agents in Ghana, understanding their interests and how this shapes the process of institutional change with regard to the diffusion of solar PVs in Ghana. More interestingly, to offer some possible explanations as why the process of diffusion of solar PVs in the Ghanaian health sector has been […] relatively slow.

Interview by Jonas Bauhof