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Future Energy Scenarios for African Cities – Unlocking Opportunities for Climate Responsive Development

Future Energy Scenarios for African Cities – Unlocking Opportunities for Climate Responsive Development




11 May, 2016


Central Africa

East Africa

North Africa

Southern Africa

West Africa


Cities globally consume up to 80% of the total global energy production and release about 75% of global CO2 emissions. Africa’s urban population is projected to triple from 400 million in 2010 to 1.26 billion in 2050. Although it is the last continent to urbanise, the speed and scale of urbanisation differs vastly from other continents. In view of this extraordinary population growth and the subsequent increase in energy demand, local governments in Africa have great interest and incentive to initiate climate action in their own constituency. However, they are often constrained by a lack of institutional capacities and policy options that consider the full range of local action. While cities are closest to the actual implementation of energy and climate action, city councils and administrations face large challenges. The mandate for energy supply and urban electrification in cities often lies with national energy utilities and national regulatory bodies. In many cases only energy efficiency related topics are coordinated at municipal level. Therefore, vertical integration of energy governance is extremely vital in order to address these challenges and assess which policy options and approaches will enable progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in African cities.

The EUEI PDF is actively contributing to shaping the global agenda through the provision of concrete policy options for city leaders as well as through supporting policy implementation at the local level. In this context, the EUEI PDF is conducting a study on scenarios outlining the energy and climate responsive growth situations from now to 2050 in cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The study will provide strategic direction based on the trajectories for decision-makers at the national, regional and municipal levels, encompassing civil society as well as the public and private sector.

A scenario building approach is being used to explore alternative futures that can inform the policy debate and support city leaders in decision making. This methodology allows for the inclusion of uncertain factors and their probability to occur, including shifts in trends and unprecedented regulations or inventions. Scenario development can be used to identify the conditions and relationships between factors and the potential trigger points and hence open up a new pathway for development. The outcomes of this study will be relevant for global, national and city policy makers, city leaders, urban planners and practitioners involved in the planning, development and implementation of projects and programmes in African cities.

The study is being conducted in an interdisciplinary approach to incorporate expert knowledge in various and cross-cutting fields. The content of the study is therefore not only based on in-depth literature reviews and scientific fore-sighting but also includes outcomes from interviews with city practitioners as well as outcomes from the following validation workshops and discussion sessions:

First validation workshop: Introductory session during EDD2016 | June 2016: The first validation workshop introduced the study to a group of experts, ranging from urban practitioners at the municipal, regional and national level to the private sector and civil society. They specifically explored how energy and climate change issues can be addressed through urbanisation in Africa. During the interactive workshop, the participants tested the provisional results of the study. More information and the concrete deliverables can be found here.

Consultative roundtable discussions with GIZ experts | July 2016: The roundtable served to look at the draft scenarios as well as the scenario building process itself through an interdisciplinary lens. Experts from the energy, transport, climate and urban development departments of GIZ discussed and shared their views on the implications of the draft scenarios as well as the practical application of the study in their fields.                                                                                           

Expert validation at the Cities Alliance’s Africa Strategy Workshop | September 2016: The workshop “Promoting the Role of Cities: Africa Strategy Workshop” was conducted and hosted by Cities Alliance from the 14 to 16 September and drew on the Alliance’s vast experience of work in African cities. The EUEI PDF joined the panel discussion on The Contribution of Research to Climate Change and Energy to present and discuss the study outcomes with a wide range of practitioners, including city administrators from Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Liberia. The groups discussed possible policy recommendations for cities that can be drawn from the final scenarios identified in the study and the practical implications for various stakeholders.

The outcomes of the discussions, sessions and workshops are being used to inform the study structure and content and continuously compare its contents to the feedback received from experts.

Finalisation and presentation of study outcomes | November 2016: The first presentation of the outcomes of the study took place in November 2016 during COP22 and informed a side event hosted by the EUEI PDF (Unlocking Climate and Energy Responsive Solutions for the Future of African Cities). More information can be found here.

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