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Do African and European energy stakeholders agree on key energy drivers in Africa? Using Q methodology to understand perceptions on energy access debates

This paper uses Q methodology to reveal stakeholder perceptions on how best to address energy issues in Africa. We sampled a group of stakeholders involved in various energy sub-sectors to uncover perspectives on how to achieve and promote access to modern energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy in Africa, whether the perceptions could be correlated to educational or geographical background and what the implications such a patterns could have on policies and current dialogues. We found all stakeholders agree on the need for prioritising sustainability but had different views on how to achieve energy for all in Africa depending on the relevance given to each energy driver. Stakeholders could be categorised into four groups: I) preference of large scale - high impact projects; II) supporters of targeted sectoral solutions with preference for small-scale technology-microfinance; III) supporters of centralised solutions with preference for grid extension, and IV) supporters of local entrepreneurship with scepticism about centralised solutions. The results show that differences in stakeholders' perceptions can be associated with the educational but not their geographical background. This implies that dialogues on energy in Africa should focus on inter-disciplinary understanding while not losing the trans-continent consensus that appears to have been established already.