The 'energy leads to development' narrative : norwegian hydropower projects in south sudan
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In this study I analyze how a development narrative influences policy and strategies in the case of Norwegian plans for hydro-electric dams in South Sudan. This study is based on qualitative methods, whereby 31 semi-structured interviews were carried out during my seven weeks stay in Juba, South Sudan. The respondents’ consist of mostly official state actors in the South Sudanese government, but also Norwegian actors involved in both development work and hydropower, and various business and NGO-people. In this thesis I aim to find out how the development narrative ‘energy leads to development’ explains Norway’s involvement in South Sudan. I also discuss what type of development this narrative represents, and how different powerful actors, mostly in South Sudan, narrate the impact of the hydropower projects. Using discourse analysis I explore the interplay between the various arguments, interest and relation between powerful actors. As such, I explore how the term ‘development’ is constructed across levels between the local and global, and in turn how the global debate also has influenced the Norwegian development policy. In this thesis Norway is used as an example of a key actor in South Sudan, where as we will see international development policy is dependent on domestic understanding of Norway as ‘green’. Norwegian hydropower history and experience has influenced their role in developing countries, of which South Sudan is one example. In turn, I also argue in the thesis that this perception has affected how South Sudanese view both Norway and hydropower. In this thinking hydropower is presented as catalyst for development, and one that is equivalent to partnering concepts such as modernization and economic growth. The thesis proposes that there is need to pick apart these resumptions and critically reconsider the value and meaning of hydropower and other energy resources.