Erin Baker, professor of industrial engineering, and Nate Whitaker, professor of mathematics, recently visited colleagues from the University of Ghana and University of Cape Town as part of a World University Network (WUN) grant. The Sustainable Energy-Access Network for Africa, established as part of the WUN grant, is made up of researchers from the University of Massachusetts, also including Leonce Ndikumana, professor of economics, University of Ghana, University of Cape Town, University of Nairobi, Argonne National Lab and Carnegie Mellon University.
The team’s aim is to investigate how to improve electricity systems and access throughout the African continent, using stakeholder-driven methods to inform policy and investment. Workshops were held by the team in Ghana in August to understand stakeholder preferences around electricity access, as well as to assess challenges and barriers.
Professors Baker and Whitaker performed a series of follow-up interviews with a wide range of stakeholders in both southern and northern Ghana. They found a consistent priority on providing electricity access to improve educational opportunity, as well as a focus on how to enable the productive use of electricity.