The Digital Transformation and Disruptive Technologies: Challenges and Solutions for the Electricity Sector in African Markets

Ijeoma Onyeji-Nwogu
Morgan Bazilian
May 30, 2017

The rise of disruptive technologies is profoundly transforming systems of production and management across sectors and industries, but primarily in wealthy countries. This paper considers how disruptive technologies could help improve power sector reform and development in African markets. In particular, it explores the role that might be played by the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and advanced analytics. After reviewing current trends in disruptive technologies, the paper illustrates the application of key elements with use cases in the areas of power infrastructure planning, power sector operations, and off-grid electrification. Finally, the paper looks at context-specific challenges to the widespread implementation of disruptive technologies. While disruptive technologies offer innovative ways of tackling some of the main challenges of traditional approaches to power sector development, their widespread adoption hinges on a concerted effort across public and private players to lend support to key aspects such as improved broadband connectivity, a vibrant startup scene and surrounding technology ecosystem, or simply the right to Internet access.

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