Coping with Urban and Infrastructural Heterogeneity: Sustainable Energy Transitions in Tanzania and Mozambique


Like in many cities in the Global South, urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa experience severe sustainability challenges in their electricity systems which conventional responses cannot fix. Despite governmental ambitions to universalize access to electricity networks, energy users and (co-)providers have developed a diversity of collective and individual solutions at the edge of, in the interstices of, or simply in place of universal electricity networks and beyond conventional models in energy supply and use. Applying concepts of postcolonial debates to urban sustainability studies, this project assumes that the heterogeneous demand and supply options represent an emerging but understudied form of energy transitions. The key objective is to identify pragmatic pathways to sustainable energy systems in African cities by exploring how to better coordinate different use and service provision channels. More specifically, the objectives are 1) to develop a typology of the heterogeneous technological solutions and practices in the (co-)provision, use and governance of energy services; 2) to understand the co-existence, interplay and hybridity of these constellations; 3) to co-create a participatory tool for their sustainability assessment; and 4) to co-design governance guidelines that systematically address the heterogeneity of energy supply and use. Based on empirical studies in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Maputo (Mozambique), the project will develop and disseminate tools and guidelines applicable to other urban contexts in the Global South. The project achieves these objectives through transdisciplinary partnerships between researchers in the Netherlands, Tanzania and Mozambique and a broad range of local, national and international stakeholders.


Project number

W 07.303.107

Main applicant

Prof. dr. J. Monstadt

Affiliated with

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geowetenschappen, Departement Sociale Geografie en Planologie

Team members

Dr. F. Eleusio MCM, M. Koepke, Prof. dr. J. Monstadt, Dr. K. Otsuki


01/03/2018 to 31/12/2021