A Multivariate Analysis of Inter-Country Differentials in Electricity Supply as a Function of Colonialism in Africa

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Africa, Colonial Africa, Colonialism, Colonies of exploitation, Electricity supply

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Inter-country differentials in the electricity supply capabilities of African countries were examined as a function of their varying colonial experiences. Colonial experience is characterized by three interval and one binary variable. The interval variables included colonial era per capita GDP, colonially-induced urbanization, and duration of colonialism. The colonial administrative strategy comprised the binary variable. The General Linear Model (GLM) was employed to analyze the data. The analysis, revealed a strong and statistically significant link between electricity supply capabilities and colonial experience (R-square = 0.70) Accordingly, it was concluded that colonialism explains 70% of the variability in electricity supply capabilities. The per capita GDP on the eve of independence had the strongest association (r = 0.717) with electricity supply. This was followed by the duration of colonialism (r = 0.377). The level of colonially-induced urbanization was shown to also have a positive association (r = 0.337) with electricity supply. Colonial administrative strategy was found to have a positive but not statistically significant link with electricity supply. These findings suggest that policy makers in Africa would do well to draw some lessons on energy provisioning from their colonial predecessors.

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Energy, v. 117, part 1, p. 214-221