North-West University: Local energy solutions are best for Africa

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Local solutions to the energy crisis are needed in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, says Dr Pamelah Cheuka, an economics specialist whose PhD thesis has shed light on the energy challenges of the region.

Dr Cheuka’s recent study on the impact of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation on productivity in the SADC has the potential to influence energy policymaking, especially in this era of climate change.

“This study was inspired by my interest in the interaction between climate change and economics in developing countries. Developing countries are bearing the brunt of the global energy crisis. Because the economic characteristics of the SADC differ from those of developed and emerging countries, it is difficult to develop policy objectives based on evidence from developed and emerging countries.”

The study was conducted for her PhD thesis in economics, which was conferred during the May 2022 graduation ceremony at the North-West University (NWU).

Dr Cheuka set out to provide an overview of renewable energy developments and energy efficiency measures in the SADC region. She then attempted to analyse the relationship between energy efficiency and productivity in selected SADC countries, to investigate the relationship between renewable energy generation and productivity in these countries, and to make policy recommendations.

Her research led to the recommendation that governments should address obstacles that impede energy efficiency initiatives and implement policies aimed at renewable energy generation to meet the growing demand for energy.

Dr Cheuka says that SADC countries are highly energy inefficient and renewable energy generation has a significant and positive impact on productivity over the long term.

Through her research, she wants to make a positive impact. “I have always wanted to conduct research that would contribute to policymakers’ decisions in developing countries.”

More about Dr Pamelah Cheuka

Dr Cheuka was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe. She completed high school in 2001 and obtained her honours degree in economics in 2005 at the University of Zimbabwe. She completed her MSc degree in economics (international trade policy and trade law) in 2014 at Lund University in Sweden, through the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa that is based in Arusha, Tanzania.

She is an economic specialist at the United States Embassy in Pretoria. Her duties include the reporting, analysis and forecasting of economic conditions and trends in South Africa, with a special focus on trade and investment, macroeconomics, banking and finance, including legislation and pending regulatory issues with implications for US policy priorities.

When she is not at work, she spends time with family and friends, reads novels and hikes.

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