Supporting Sub-Saharan Africa’s Municipalities with Sustainable Energy Transitions

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 Millennium Development Goals have in most cases not had significant impact on urban populations.

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; where capacity within local/national government departments involved in energy and urban development is inadequate in the face of increasing challenges; and where modes of knowledge transfer are not effective in facilitating sustainable energy transitions in cities.

This research project 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.

SAMSET’s Sub-Saharan African project partners has formed networks of municipal planners, government officials and other interested actors in the sustainable urban sphere in their countries, and this led to the project partnering with six municipalities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Cape Town and Polokwane in South Africa, Jinja and Kasese in Uganda, and Ga East and Awutu Senya East in Ghana. Mid-project research has focused on the production of state of energy reports for the partner municipalities, as well as direct support for sustainable urbanisation activities through capacity-building and training, as well as consulting with municipal representatives at SAMSET network meetings.


– Working papers and policy briefs on sustainable urbanisation themes, household energy consumption, transportation, waste management.

– State of energy reports produced by SAMSET partner municipalities.

– Case study reports on specific sustainable interventions such as sustainable densification in Cape Town, and sustainable urban waste management in Ghana.

Support for Municipalities

– Partner municipalities supported with state of energy analysis and energy futures modelling

– Knowledge exchange framework creation between partner municipalities, as well as network mapping in municipalities to build capacity.



University College London

Sustainable Energy Africa (South Africa)

University of Sheffield


Uganda Martyrs University

University of Ghana

University of Cape Town


Project website

Supporting African Municipalities in Sustainable Energy Transitions

Project Blog


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