Energy for Growth Hub
Impact Story May 01, 2023

Rose Mutiso Reshapes Energy Inequality Solutions with African Perspectives

Better Metrics and Data
Shaping Energy Transitions

Impact Summary: Rose Mutiso uses crisp data examples and powerful arguments to show what energy inequality means for one billion people in Africa. Her perspective-shifting TED Talks, podcast, and op-eds are reshaping the viable set of policy solutions to fight energy poverty and climate change. And by bringing African data, priorities, and expertise to bear, she’s changing research communications for societal impact.

What We’re Doing

Changing the viable solution set via two compelling TED Talks on the energy Africa needs to develop — and fight climate change and how to bring affordable, sustainable electricity to Africa. Hub Research Director Rose Mutiso explains how energy poverty, or the lack of sufficient electricity, affects nearly two-thirds of the continent’s population. She uses memorable data examples — like Californians use as much electricity to play video games as the entire country of Senegal — to illustrate the scale of global energy inequality and what it means for real people. In her perspective-shifting talks, Rose argues for a balanced mix of solutions to meet immediate needs and confront climate change — while emphasizing that Africa’s development is non-negotiable.

Identifying new gaps by publishing “Net-zero plans exclude Africa” in Nature just before COP27. In the run-up to the United Nations climate conference (COP27) in Egypt in November 2022, the science journal Nature published Rose’s article detailing how energy transition plans leave out African data, priorities, and expertise. Without a data-driven agenda on the energy transition, Rose explains, net-zero pledges are meaningless. Having made her compelling case, Rose is now leading an effort to close the data and modeling gaps to enable a more effective and inclusive global transition to net zero.

Cultivating the next generation of energy and climate thinkers with the High Energy Planet Podcast. Together with Hub Policy Director Katie Auth, Rose co-hosts High Energy Planet, our podcast featuring creative scholars, policymakers, and innovators. By elevating new voices, we’re expanding the conversation on how to solve global energy poverty and power prosperity for everyone.

Making Ideas Matter: Rose’s TEDTalks viewed more than 3.5 million times, and her data-driven storytelling earned her “best communicator” award in Kenya and Dartmouth prize for societal impact.

  • The Daily Nation, the most widely read newspaper in Kenya and the surrounding region, named Rose Mutiso “Best Communicator.”  In the front-page announcement, Rose was commended for her ability to “escape from the ‘prison of technicality’ that holds captive so many experts” and deploy logical and emotional appeal in communicating research and policy solutions.
  • Dartmouth University awarded Rose Mutiso its second annual $100,000 McGuire Prize, recognizing significant positive impact on humanity, society, or the environment. Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon said Rose built her career at the intersection of science, policy, gender equity, and international development and “brings to bear the power of diversity and inclusion in creating a sustainable energy future, bringing voices to the table who haven’t traditionally been heard.” He said this is “exactly the kind of societal impact the McGuire Prize was founded to amplify.”

Bottom line impact → Rose’s first-rate science, research, and policy communications are being recognized for changing perspectives about energy inequality and shaping the scope of viable new solutions with African data, expertise, and perspectives.

Key Players

  • Rose Mutiso, Research Director, Energy for Growth Hub

Learn more about Rose Mutiso’s work on energy inequality, climate and energy transitions, and technology.