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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: March 2012

4 - Whither energy sector reform and liberalization in developing countries? A reality check



After 15 years of energy sector reform in OIDC it is now time to assess developing countries' record based on the established guiding principles of energy pricing, regulation, commercialization/corporatization and privatization and private investment1 and address the question: whither energy market transition in developing countries?

This chapter first presents the overall status of energy sector reform in developing countries. This is followed by discussions on the progress to date of four specific reform elements of pricing, regulation, commercialization/privatization and financial reform and private investment in energy. Detailed discussions of selected case studies from East Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to identify issues and lessons to be learned will be undertaken in Chapter 5.

Overall status of energy sector reform in developing countries

As of 2005, over 85 developing countries made energy policy announcements that they have launched energy sector reforms. However, at the global level it is not clear what elements of the four reform components are addressed, what steps have been taken to liberalize energy prices, to regulate energy monopoly segments, to commercialize energy operations and finally to attract private investment to increase access to energy supplies for development.

15 years after the beginning of energy sector reform in more than 85 developing countries, the picture is mixed. In the 1990s, at the top of the reform ladder were a few countries like Argentina, Jordan, China, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand seriously committed to the reform process.