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Centre of African Studies: People


Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez

Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez
Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Political Geography of infrastructure, Economic Geography, Territorial Politics

Research Project

Kilowatts, megawatts and power: Electric territorialities of the state in the peripheries of Ghana and Tanzania.

In this project I sought to better understand how African states govern long-neglected peripheries. I drew inspiration from perspectives in Political Geography that attribute unevenness in the reach of the state to centre-periphery strategic calculations and political bargains. To explore that argument further, I looked at the spatial patterns of electrification produced by two schemes of grid extension in northern Ghana (1989-2012) and southeastern Tanzania (2004-15). The results highlight the weight of electoral calculations and local grievances as key core-periphery political linkages shaping the delivery of electricity. At the same time, they also point to the role of nation-wide distributional settlements over electricity policies in constraining or expanding the room for manoeuvre of central rulers.

I carried out fieldwork in Ghana in 2013, and in Tanzania in 2014 and 2015.

I graduated in November 2018. My thesis is available here.


Prof. Dr. Paul Nugent

Dr. Thomas Molony

Latest publications

(full academic CV, ORCID)

Less regularly than I would like, I also publish research-based briefs on my blog: Electric Territorialities

Academic Qualifications

PhD African Studies, University of Edinburgh (2018)

MA Politics and Democracy, Spanish Distance Learning University, Spain (2011)

MSc Power Generation: Renewables, Public University of Navarre (2008)

MA Development and International Cooperation, Instituto Hegoa, University of the Basque Country (2005)

BEng Industrial Engineering, Technical University of Valencia (2001)