A Research Agenda for Low Carbon Transition and Gender Equity in the Global South - Infrastructure (Transport and Digital)

1 April 2023


All countries now face enormous challenges posed by climate change. The consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions are dire, particularly for countries in the Global South that are both more affected and more vulnerable to climate change at the same time as they have less capacity to adapt (AfDB, 2022). The realization that a low-carbon transition needs to be implemented in countries in the Global South is well established and is also reflected in most countries’ ratification of the Paris Agreement and in their Nationally Determined Contributions. In effect, most countries in the Global South are now confronted with the fastest and most dramatic transformation of their economies that they have ever experienced – or at least they would need to be. 

The low-carbon transition in the Global South needs to be guided by research since such a transition is inherently a very knowledge-intensive process. This is why the Sustainable Inclusive Economies (SIE) Division of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has identified this area as particularly interesting to support. This report is commissioned by SIE as part of a bigger initiative to develop an actionable research agenda that IDRC can support to achieve a low-carbon transition with gender equity in the Global South. 

Infrastructure (Transport and Digital) is part of the Research Agenda for Low Carbon Transition and Gender Equity in the Global South series of papers. The consortium that is working on this series of papers is global and consists of 60 researchers from a multitude of universities and institutions. This particular paper has been written by Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah from EfD Global Hub, Gothenburg, Philip Adom from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra, Amin Karimu from the School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, and Jabir Ibrahim Mohammed from the University of Ghana. The EfD Global Hub staff supporting the authors was Alejandro Lopez Feldman. 

This paper is based on two systematic literature reviews, one on the impact of digital technologies on the energy system, social inclusion, and household welfare, and the other on the impact of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the provision of low-carbon transport infrastructure for social inclusion in the Global South. We hope to receive constructive comments on this draft paper from IDRC, our networks and external scholars, and practitioners. We will then revise the paper for validation by policy makers and senior civil servants in the Global South. Based on the reviews and validations we plan to prepare final versions of both the paper and the accompanying High-Level Research Agenda by March 2023. The ambition is that these papers will be useful for both donors and research institutions in supporting an even greater contribution by research to a much needed low-carbon transition with gender equity in the Global South in this crucial Decade of Action. 

Gunnar Köhlin 

Director, Environment for Development 

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Publication | 26 April 2023