SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Roy, Pallavi, Watkins, Mitchell, Iwuamadi, Chijioke Kelechi and Ibrahim, Jibrin (2023) 'Breaking the cycle of corruption in Nigeria's electricity sector: Off-grid solutions for local enterprises.' Energy Research and Social Science, 101 (103130).

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Download (2MB) | Preview


Access to electricity is a major constraint to economic growth in Nigeria. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are arguably the segment of the Nigerian economy most disadvantaged by a lack of access to reliable power. Due to the failure of grid-based supply, over 80 % of SMEs rely on a generator to power operations. Inclusive, diversified growth in the country depends on growth of the SME sector. This paper examines how SME grid access can be improved given the technical inefficiencies and systemic corruption in the sector. In line with the political settlements framework we provide a macro-analysis of the sector which helps address and identify a solution for the main research problem of how to solve the power constraints Nigerian SMEs face. Our research, conducted between 2018 and 2019, but still valid currently, as the features we describe have not evolved substantially, identifies that the reasons for the failure of grid-based supply is a combination of interdependent factors. Technical inefficiency in the grid is high. Revenue shortfalls have also resulted in extensive government bailouts. These inefficiencies are compounded by ‘legacy’ and recent corruption that has led to poor maintenance of the transmission network during state-ownership and to the presence of politically-connected bidders in the recent privatisation efforts, leading to sub-optimal outcomes. Any solution for SMEs has to take this sectoral configuration into account. Our strategy is supported by focus groups discussions and interviews with over 30 clustered firms in the South Eastern SME hubs of Onitsha, Aba, and Nnewi.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for International Studies & Diplomacy
ISSN: 22146296
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 22 May 2023 16:23
Funders: Other

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item