Digital finance – like pay-as-you-go mobile payment systems - is being championed as a smart innovation that can help countries achieve the UN’s goal of sustainable energy for all by offering people new ways to pay for off grid electricity. Yet the impact of digital finance on energy poverty remains unexamined. There is no empirical evidence, for example, that ‘smart’ or digital payment systems increase the commitments of households or communities in the global south to sustainable energy. Neither has there been any systematic attempt to understand the wider social, political and ethical ramifications of digital finance on energy poverty, indebtedness or the credit relationships of poor people to energy providers.

In collaboration with Scene this collaborative PhD project will critically examine how digital finance is transforming the ways that people without access to banks are paying for energy services. In doing so it will open up new directions for social science scholarship on the relationship between money, debt and electricity in the global south.

Interested applicants must hold a strong postgraduate level qualification (MA or MSc) in International Development, Social Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology or Human Geography. Evidence of field based research experience or professional experience in the international energy access sector would be an advantage.

Application deadline: June 10.

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