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Within the context of Africa, it should be understood that norms emanating from sources other than those of the states play a major role in regulating the personal lives and day-to-day transactions of the ordinary citizen, as distinct from the roles of formal laws or customary law. Whilst the enacted laws of the state totally regulate all of criminal and administrative law, and a great proportion of contract, customary law features significantly in land law, inheritance, and succession. For day-to-day living and for processes that aid the smooth functioning of life’s activities, order and regulation emanate from other sources that have been created or evolved to fill the vacuum arising from the failure of states to fulfil basic functions of governance such as the administration of justice, revenue collection, the provision of utilities, and other measures to enhance the quality of life, and provide for the security of citizens. In many states the governments at all levels have failed to look after their citizens and play little or no part in their lives and development. The resulting vacuums in these countries have been filled by various community-based mechanisms that centre around the traditional extended family, ethnic, and community systems [emphasis added].
This notion of energy security jives with other notions of security that have been previously discussed by this author on this blog. The state, and by extension the large power producers which are often state-owned in Africa, are only apt to decrease in importance over time, especially due to their poor collective track record at providing energy security in Africa. Renewable energy technology allows the citizenry to make this transition to provide their own energy security at the local level, and will help African nations meet their overall social development goals at the same time, in addition to lowering CO2 emissions.
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