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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez

Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez
Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez
African Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Political Geography of infrastructure, Economic Geography, Territorial Politics

PhD Title

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

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)