Energy Futures Modelling for African Cities – Selecting a Modelling Tool for the SAMSET Project

One of the first steps of the SAMSET project - which support six African cities in three countries - is to develop an evidence base of their energy systems to support scenario-based planning exercises to explore the impacts of different sustainable energy interventions. There are various established modelling platforms available that are useful for different purposes. Selecting an appropriate software tool must conform to the objectives and scope, as well as the context of the study. The tool for this project must be well suited to a developing country context and its associated socio-economic and technical characteristics. This study is therefore mindful of the tendency to rely on models of ‘developed country’ cities to guide how we theorise and make forecasts for those in developing countries. Urban et al. (2007) point out, for example, how the classical paradigm of economic development that posits that countries transition from agricultural based economies to industrialisation to a service-based economy does not hold true for many developing countries. This theory is based on empirical observations of historical trends of developed countries, but many developing countries have not experienced major industrialisation prior to the growth and expansion of service-based sectors.