News & events


Renewable Energies as a Developmental Pathway for Southern Africa

19 February 2010
12:45 - 15:00

Date :

19 February 2010

Time :

12:45 – 15:00


Prof. Mathews, ENI Chair in Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS, and Guido Carli, University in Rome

Abstract of the lecture:


The role of energy sources in the choice of industrial development pathways has not been widely acknowledged outside the energy literature. Yet in fact, energy choices are coming to be viewed as critical. Traditional fossil fuel-intensive industrial pathways imperil development prospects around the world, and perpetuate and propagate the ‘carbon lock-in’ that developed countries find so difficult to break. As energy security becomes a major issue, so developing countries have everything to lose by simply following fossil-fuel based industrialisation, and everything to gain by recasting their development strategies around the prospects for renewable energies and biofuels, for at least five reasons. Firstly, countries in southern Africa have comparative advantages in land, sun, water and wind that can be utilised in building renewable energy-based industries. Second, renewable energy-based industries promise to deliver energy security, and as they displace oil and fossil fuel imports, they can deliver economic security as well. Third, renewable energies promise new possibilities for industrial development, and the creation of new ‘development blocs’ that can undergird a new push for development and create new entrepreneurial possibilities. Fourth, developing countries in southern Africa can capture latecomer advantages as they build industries based on renewable energy sources, thereby enhancing their international competitiveness. Finally, renewable energies promise to generate carbon credits, and give countries in southern Africa bargaining leverage in international negotiations over mitigation of climate change. In this lecture, I will argue that the time is therefore ripe for developing countries to re-evaluate their stance on renewable energy sources generally, and on biofuels in particular, and that this provides a promising development pathway for the countries of southern Africa.

Guido Carli is the author of several books including Strategising, Disequilibrium and Profit; Dragon Multinational: A New Model of Global Growth; Tiger Technology; and The Creation of a Semiconductor Industry in East Asia. As a specialist in industrial dynamics, technology and innovation. Professor Mathews has become deeply interested in the renewable energy industries and is publishing on these industries, particularly on the prospects for developing countries. He has worked internationally with UNCTAD, UNIDO and with the World Bank. Professor Mathews has addressed several conferences on energy and biofuels, and in November 2008 was a keynote speaker at the World Ethanol Conference in Paris. With the support of Rockefeller Foundation, he organised a weeklong conference on global North-South issues in biofuels in Mrach 2008.

The presentation  from the lecture is available 


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