Supporting Sub-Saharan Africa's Municipalities with Sustainable Energy Transitions -SAMSET

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources

Abstract

Urbanisation rates in Africa are the highest in the world, and in most Sub Saharan countries service delivery is inadequate to keep up with the needs. African populations remain amongst the poorest in the world, and efforts to achieve the energy-related dimensions of the MDGs have in most cases not had significant impact on urban populations. The situation is often dire, with cities scarcely able to provide for their existing population, let alone allocate resources to minimise the longer-term environmental risks facing them such as global warming- leading to on-going crisis management and potentially spiralling declines in welfare and economic growth.

Through observing the urban situation in South Africa, Southern Africa and internationally over the past decade, the situation can be summarised as one where much urban energy transformation research does not understand the detailed organisational dynamics and constraints in cities and therefore is often of limited use; where there is a gap between policy and implementation due to inappropriate policies and capacity constraints; where the capacity within cities and other spheres of government involved in energy and urban development is inadequate in the face of the increasing social and environmental challenges; and where modes of knowledge transfer are not effective in facilitating sustainable energy transitions in cities. This project takes a different approach to much other research. It aims to "design, test, and evaluate a knowledge exchange framework to facilitate the implementation of an effective sustainable energy transition in Africa's Sub-Saharan urban areas", and includes a strong action research component which involves close partnering with six cities in three African countries (two each in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa) to foster a deeper understanding of the dynamics and constraints that policy and strategy implementation faces in Sub Saharan African cities. This not only enables the knowledge exchange methodologies developed to be well founded, but also introduces a direct developmental benefit to the project through providing support to cities to accelerate their sustainable energy transitions.

The project includes the following key features: it draws on existing work in the North and other developing countries, while recognising the often huge contextual divergence, and develops a deeper understanding of the status quo and constraints particular to Sub-Saharan Africa; core work packages are based on an existing model that has been developed in South Africa over the past 15 years to support cities with effective energy transitions; it is rooted in practicalities of what it takes to implement energy-related initiatives effectively in complex urban environments through action research components; and it holds a core research thread of developing a knowledge exchange framework for supporting cities with effecting energy transitions.

The project work areas cover the knowledge exchange research thread , developing an information base from which to support cities, undertaking direct support for cities around strategy development and priority initiatives (the 'action research' component), and focusing on knowledge exchange and capacity building in range of different ways, covering local to international levels.

The project partners include a leading university in each of the three Africa countries - University of Ghana, Uganda Martyrs University and University of Cape Town - as well as an NGO in South Africa (Sustainable Energy Africa) that has 15 years of experience supporting cities with sustainable energy transitions. In addition, the project partners include two leading universities in the UK (Durham and University College London) with expertise in urbanisation and energy transitions, and a UK consultancy (Gamos) with expertise in knowledge brokering frameworks and social network analysis, amongst other areas.

Planned Impact

The research is ultimately intended to support the development of Sub Saharan African cities to be more sustainable, with a focus on energy transitions. Impact will be achieved via developing improved knowledge transfer methodologies to support sustainable energy transitions, direct capacity support for cities around priority energy-related planning and projects, and capacity building initiatives including network knowledge exchange activities and postgraduate course development and convening. Impacts can include (depending on the priorities of the particular partner city) more energy efficient buildings, efficient transport systems and better mobility of the poor, facilitating access to energy, improved city financial efficiency (providing services more efficiently through improved infrastructure and spatial planning), and improved land use and thus overall city efficiency and welfare benefits. The potential benefits to the poor are an important focus in this project, as they tend to be most marginalised, located on land with the least access to services, furthest from the amenities of urban living (clinics and schools), and often with poor mobility levels as cities expand. Supporting the welfare of the poor needs direct and indirect consideration in urban areas. Directly, approaches such as increasing access to energy can be explored; indirectly, the health and sustainability of an urban area as a whole needs to be promoted - otherwise all sectors of society go into decline. Women are generally poorer than their male counterparts, and therefore are of particular concern. A more sustainable energy transition can improve the mobility of the poor through public transport promotion, and thus ultimately reduce their transport expenditure. It can also improve the comfort of housing through thermal performance enhancements. It can facilitate access to energy for the poor, for example through changes to electrification approaches or alternative fuel distribution facilitation. In addition, there is a potential for economic stimulus through greater energy efficiency or more strategic use thereof. Most benefits will only be evident in the longer-term (such is the nature of change in cities - especially around issues of spatial and transport planning).

Project benefits will be realised by close interaction and exchange with partner cities, academic partners, and key local and international players. The project design is based largely on the success of a city support programme that has been running in South Africa for 15 years, and has contributed to significant institutional capacity building, as well as planning and implementation changes in urban areas around the country. It has also resulted in an ongoing dynamic learning network of professionals from a range of sectors, including housing, buildings, electricity, transport, electricity, spatial planning and environment. Impacts will be facilitated by linking in with important networks active in relevant areas, such as those of ICLEI, UN-HABITAT and The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). In particular, the City of Cape Town and ICLEI Africa have committed to supporting the project based on the mutual benefits of such work and the need for cooperation given the enormity of the challenges in African urbanisation. The project will also provide a range of information dissemination and capacity building outputs such as a theoretically grounded knowledge brokerage framework, a guide for Sub Saharan African municipalities on effecting sustainable energy transitions, and conference papers and journal articles of relevance throughout the project duration. Overall, it may also have a positive impact on the achievement of the energy-related MDGs. The global community is another important long-term beneficiary, as the project will contribute to a lower carbon growth path for Africa, reducing their predicted significant future contribution to global warming.
 
Description The Supporting Sub-Saharan African Municipalities with Sustainable Energy Transitions (SAMSET) project by its activities on energy transition at a municipal level in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa has incentivised local actors to pay more attention to energy issues.

Energy in African municipalities is often absent of urban planning discussions but it is possible to quickly raise awareness on energy issues with non-specialists. A learning-by-doing approach is more effective to lead to an appropriation of knowledge by local stakeholders than traditional learning approaches relying on formal presentations.

The project has helped to bring researchers, consultants and municipal officers to work together around energy systems modelling, to identify the main sources of energy consumption and to imagine more sustainable future energy scenario in each municipality partner of the project. Energy modelling is useful in a developing context both for its heuristic value (as a mean to bring stakeholders around a table to discuss energy issues) and for the statistics and scenarios produced (which provides policy-makers with tools to make more rational choices).

Support to pilot demonstration projects and the co-production of energy reports in municipalities have generated interest around energy transition. Knowledge networks around energy have also been built or consolidated in each country.
Exploitation Route Findings could be put to use by other African municipalities following the capacity building approach described on the website and on the blog of the project.

Reports from the project are made available for a large audience of academics and practitioners working in the field of international aid and urban planning via the website of the project which attracts a significant number of visitors.

Findings are also being taken forward with further capacity building and dissemination done by one of the main partner of the project.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://samsetproject.net/
 
Description Findings have been used by municipalities partner of the project to engage in energy transition notably in Ghana and South Africa. For instance: - small renewable energy and energy efficiency demonstration projects launched by project partners in Ghana; - integration of sustainable energy issues into medium-term action plan in a municipality in Ghana; - contribution to the energy section of Ghana 40's -year development plan; - hiring of an energy officer in a municipality in South Africa
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Contribution to the Energy section of Ghana 40's -year development plan
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The integration of energy transition issues by policy-makers in a national plan could be a significant step toward a change of practices.
 
Description Integration of sustainable energy issues into Awutu Senya East Municipality medium-term action plan
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The integration of energy transition issues by municipalities in their strategic plan is a significant step toward a change of practices.
 
Description 1st SAMSET network meeting Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 28-29 October 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact First network meeting with partners of the SAMSET project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2013
 
Description 2nd SAMSET network meeting Elmina, Ghana, 14-16 May 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 2nd SAMSET Network meeting Elmina, Ghana, 14-16 May 2014 with municipal partners of the SAMSET project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://samsetproject.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/samset-news-june-2014-second-network-meeting/
 
Description 3rd SAMSET network meeting Elmina, Kalk Bay, South Africa 13-14 November 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 3rd SAMSET Network meeting Elmina, Kalk Bay, South Africa 13-14 November 2014 with municipal partners of the SAMSET project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://samsetproject.net/current-work/
 
Description 4th SAMSET network meeting, Mbara, Uganda, 18-21 May 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 4th SAMSET network meeting, Mbara, Uganda, 18-21 May 2015 with SAMSET municipal partners
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://samsetproject.net/current-work/
 
Description 5th SAMSET network meeting, Polokwane, South Africa, 25-28 November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 5th SAMSET network meeting, Polokwane, South Africa, 25-28 November 2015 with SAMSET municipal partners
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://samsetproject.net/current-work/
 
Description 6th SAMSET network meeting. Kampala, Uganda 5-6 November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SAMSET 6th Network meeting took place in Kampala, Uganda, 5-6 November 2016 with SAMSET municipal partners
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://samsetproject.net/
 
Description Blog post Informal settlements: to electrify or not? UrbanAfrica.net March 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Blog post Informal settlements: to electrify or not? UrbanAfrica.net March 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.urbanafrica.net/urban-voices/informal-settlements-electrify/
 
Description Blog post Local government's role in sustainable energy transitions is poorly understood - UrbanAfrica.net May 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Blog post Local government's role in sustainable energy transitions is poorly understood - UrbanAfrica.net May 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.urbanafrica.net/urban-voices/local-governments-role-in-sustainable-energy-transitions-is...
 
Description Blog post Smaller African cities need sustainable energy intervention - The Conversation - Oct 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Blog post Smaller African cities need sustainable energy intervention - The Conversation - Oct 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://theconversation.com/smaller-african-cities-need-sustainable-energy-intervention-47108
 
Description Blog post Supporting African Municipalities in Sustainable Energy Transitions UrbanAfrica.net March 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Blog post Supporting African Municipalities in Sustainable Energy Transitions UrbanAfric.net March 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.urbanafrica.net/news/supporting-african-municipalities-sustainable-energy-transitions/
 
Description Blog post Waste-to-energy: African cities can transform their energy landscapes on UrbanAfrica.Net - May 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Blog post Waste-to-energy: African cities can transform their energy landscapes on UrbanAfrica.Net - May 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.urbanafrica.net/news/supporting-african-municipalities-sustainable-energy-transitions/
 
Description CPD Course Kampala, Uganda, 7-11th November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The second SAMSET CPD course took place in Kampala, Uganda, 7-11th November with The Hon. Dr Chris Baryomunsi, Minister of State for Housing addressing the opening.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://samsetproject.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/kampala-cpd-course-plenary-sessions-and-group-work-da...
 
Description CPD course Energy and Sustainable Urban Development in Africa, University of Cape Town, 17-21 November 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact CPD course Energy and Sustainable Urban Development in Africa, University of Cape Town, 17-21 November 2014 organised by SAMSET
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://samsetproject.net/current-work/
 
Description ICLEI Local Climate Solutions for Africa Congress 30 Oct - 1st Nov 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentations given at the ICLEI Local Climate Solutions for Africa Congress 30 Oct - 1st Nov 2013
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://locs4africa.iclei.org/locs-2013-presentations/
 
Description Open Session Sustainable Energy in Urban Africa: the role of local government in Africities 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Open Session Sustainable Energy in Urban Africa: the role of local government in Africities 2015 organised by the SASMET team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.africities2015.org/
 
Description Presentation at the Summit of African Regions and Cities for Climate, Yamoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire, 24th - 25th June 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation given by Dr SIMON BAWAKYILLENUO at the Summit of African Regions and Cities for Climate, Yamoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire, 24th - 25th June 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2015
URL http://www.afriqueclimat2015.org/
 
Description Presentation of SAMSET outcomes at the final USES conference, 7th-9th December 2017, Nakuru 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of STEPs outcomes at the final Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions (USES) Network conference in front of other USES projects team and local NGOs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.lcedn.com/blog/understanding-sustainable-energy-solutions-uses-workshop-be-held-nakuru-n...
 
Description Press conference organised by ISSER - University of Ghana on the launch of State of Energy and Strategy reports in the Ga East municipality - 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press conference organised by ISSER - University of Ghana on the launch of State of Energy and Strategy reports in the Ga East municipality - 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://gemanewsgh.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/isser-gema-launches-samset-state-of-energy-and-strategy-...
 
Description Press interview Renewable Energy Utilization Is The Solution To Power Crisis - Modern Ghana May 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press interview Renewable Energy Utilization Is The Solution To Power Crisis - Modern Ghana May 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.modernghana.com/news/618161/1/renewable-energy-utilization-is-the-solution-to-po.html?ho...
 
Description SAMSET project blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The SAMSET project blog launched in November 2013 and edited by Xavier Lemaire, UCL and Daniel Kerr, UCL had more than 2,200 visitors in 2014; more than 3,500 visitors in 2015; 3,148 visitors in 2016; 4,429 visitors in 2017; 2,831 visitors in 2018 and 1,746 visitors in 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://samsetproject.wordpress.com/
 
Description SAMSET project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SAMSET project website launched January 2014 and coordinated by Xavier Lemaire, UCL and Daniel Kerr, UCL had 1,000 visitors (and 2,500 views) in 2014 and more than 2,000 visitors (4,437 views) in 2015; 18,585 visitors (and 41,564 views) with 4,748 documents downloaded in 2016; 35,668 visitors (and 101,465 views) with 15,711 documents downloaded in 2017; 21,136 visitors (and 61,502 views) with 11,691 documents downloaded in 2018; 27,990 visitors (and 53,745 views) with 13,022 documents downloaded in 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL http://samsetproject.net/