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Research areas

SEI Africa’s work focuses on three key areas: energy and climate change, natural resources and ecosystems, and sustainable urbanisation.

Energy and climate change

SEI Africa’s research programme on energy and climate change seeks to explore and support socially inclusive, low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways at multiple levels. SEI’s Long-Range Energy Planning (LEAP) software tool supports analysis of potential energy pathways and how they affect other development objectives and resource use. In parallel to our scenario modelling work, we explore issues of knowledge, power and participation in order to unpack governance at multiple levels.

Energy infrastructure
Photo: Mbeo Ogeya / SEI.

Natural resources and ecosystems

The programme focuses on key natural resources, with priority attention to water and sanitation, land and biodiversity and ecosystems management. The programme aims to generate and disseminate knowledge and solutions for addressing sustainable natural resources management and their contribution to economies, livelihoods and human wellbeing across Africa. Capacity building is also at the core of our work, including working collaboratively with local communities, policy makers, private sector and civil society entities. We also support policy makers’ access and use a suite of decision support tools, including WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning), and CLEANED (Comprehensive Livestock and Aquaculture Environmental Assessment for Improved Nutrition).


Photo: Tom Ogol / SEI.

Health and environment

This programme focuses on the health and environment nexus and aims to understand the effects of various environmental factors on human health. The main goal of this programme is to generate information on how safer practice of activities such as energy systems use; land use and urban planning and air quality can lead to better health outcomes in urban and rural Africa. In addition, we engage in capacity building of staff as well as external collaborators such as Ministry of Health staff and local communities. We also provide support to external organizations by conducting impact and process evaluations for intervention projects.

Sustainable urbanization

SEI Africa’s managing urban change programme aims to explore challenges related to rapid urbanization and to contribute to identifying and supporting more sustainable urbanization pathways in sub-Saharan Africa. Our sustainable urbanization work focuses on indoor and outdoor air quality assessment and monitoring in cities, using the citizen science approach; inclusive and sustainable transport and urban mobility; development of urban green spaces; and integration of informal settlement upgrading into planned urban development.

Urban rooftops

Photo: Cassilde Muhoza / SEI.