What role can African cities play in low-carbon development? A multilevel governance perspective of Ghana, Uganda and South Africa


  • Louise Tait Energy Research Centre University of Cape Town
  • Megan Euston-Brown Sustainable Energy Africa




Multilevel governance, low carbon development, Africa.


Cities’ ability to mainstream climate goals into their activities is, to a large extent, influenced by the vertical divisions of responsibilities across different levels of government. This study examined how cities’ agency to steer low-carbon urban development is enabled or constrained by multi-level governance arrangements in Jinja in Uganda, Ga East in Ghana, and Polokwane in South Africa. In both Uganda and Ghana, uneven progress with implementing decentralisation reforms greatly limited local government action, and there was poor alignment of sectors they could influence and those with significant emissions reduction potential. In Polokwane, however, a highly devolved governance structure afforded the municipality authority and autonomy over a much wider range of functions. Across all three cases, however, systemic capacity and resource constraints constrained the potential to develop proactive climate governance.


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How to Cite

Tait, L., & Euston-Brown, M. (2017). What role can African cities play in low-carbon development? A multilevel governance perspective of Ghana, Uganda and South Africa. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, 28(3), 43–53. https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3051/2017/v28i3a1959