Adoption of Renewable Energy Innovations in Rural Tanzania: An Innovation Systems Approach

Masoud Dauda


Renewable energy innovations have in recent years attracted attention due to their potential as alternative sources of energy in rural areas. The current debate in sub-Saharan Africa not only focuses on the possibilities and limitations of renewable energy innovations to reach the poor, but it also centres on the contribution of these innovations in achieving sustainable development goals. In the current paper, I examine the role of intermediary organisations in the transfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations in rural areas. I employ an exploratory case-study approach to collect data from 15 intermediary organisations in Tanzania. Using an innovation systems approach, I argue that intermediary organisations may often be in a position to coordinate activities and create an enabling environment for transfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations. A more active involvement of intermediary organisations could transcend social and cultural barriers as well as transform attitudes of other actors towards renewable energy innovations. However, the extent to which renewable energy innovations can successfully be adopted in rural areas, and thereby contribute to rural development, would largely depend on whether all actors are also fully involved in the innovation process. While attempts to integrate an innovation systems approach into research and development in sub-Saharan Africa have consistently focused on agricultural innovations, renewable energy innovations remain under-researched.


Keywords: innovation systems, renewable energy innovations, intermediary organisations


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