Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sustainable Rural Development Through Microgrids in Kenya
by Bourgeois, Lucia, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2016, 100; 13833856
Abstract (Summary)

Since its independence from the British Commonwealth in 1963, Kenya has become one of the fastest growing economies in East Africa, and an international hub for commerce and transportation in the region. Yet despite the overall growth as a nation, much of Kenya’s citizenry remains plagued by poverty and conflict, particularly those living in rural areas. This thesis will propose that to address some of its obstacles, Kenya requires development of regional microeconomies independent of government funding and participation. For this to be successful land rights must first be defined and legitimate regional authorities established, which will require addressing deep-rooted tribalism and the deconstruction of existing colonial structures. Drawing on social norm and communication of identity theories, this thesis further proposes that social change can best be brought about by introducing a common economic goal, and that programs aimed at improving access to electricity could both foster regional microeconomic growth and mitigate inter-tribal conflict. This will be done by suggesting the legitimization of existing rural microeconomies which will be defended using theories proposed by Michael Lipton and Hernando de Soto. This thesis will explore the historical roots of Kenya’s dysfunction, define social and societal inhibitions to rural development, and use the example of geothermal powered microgrids as a solution for improving wellbeing for rural communities in the Rift Valley region. Examples of microgrid projects in Kenya will be used to support the argument for increased use of microgrids, and a theoretical discussion of geothermal potential in the Rift Valley will conclude that the development of geothermal powered microgrids are a viable option for supporting sustainable, independent regional development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perry, Susan
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs
School Location: France
Source: MAI 58/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: African Studies, Sustainability
Publication Number: 13833856
ISBN: 978-0-438-79608-9
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