Exploring the Economic Transformation Potential of Developing Economies: Can Rwanda Successfully Implement Jeremy Rifkin's 'Third Industrial Revolution'?

David Algreen Adler

Student thesis: Master thesis


Throughout history, developing economies have been ignored, abused, and exploited, which has contributed to vast development gaps. The global sustainability agenda has raised awareness of the issue and stressed the importance of inclusivity for developing economies. Jeremy Rifkin brings forward a new sustainability initiative that he calls “The Third Industrial Revolution,” in which the global economy will and must switch toward renewable and democratized energy systems. This paper questions whether this economic paradigm shift, or transformation, is feasible for developing economies. By applying the multi-level perspective (MLP), this paper addresses the issue by conducting broad content analysis of secondary data sources to build a clear understanding of drivers and barriers in the Rwandan context – a rapidly growing developing economy, assumed to be more feasible than others. It is found that the transformation to The Third Industrial Revolution is not currently feasible for Rwanda, thus unfeasible for similar developing economies, and those with even greater struggles, due to large barriers within political ideologies, macroeconomic patterns, and the niche innovation ecosystem. The paper discusses the implications and limitations of the analysis and concludes with solution recommendations and pathways for future research.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages82
SupervisorsEleni Tsingou