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South Africa


Kenyan forest conservation in focus

Kenya doctoral student Boscow Okumu will return to Cape Town, South Africa, late in October, following a four month study trip to the Nairobi School of Monetary Studies where he has been training alongside researchers from across the continent. This was part of a study elective that focused on environmental economics and econometrics.


Neighbours and nature: how rural southern Africans cope with food shortages

When weather-related shocks harm a rural farming family’s agricultural yields, thus reducing the household’s food supply, people turn to nature or their community as a way of coping. That’s why initiatives designed to help such families cope with climate change should consider strengthening social and natural ‘capital’ for the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa.


Mixed strategy farming may help beat climate change in SA

Agricultural policy in South Africa should support a mix of crop and livestock farming amongst subsistence farmers in order to make them more resilient to the impact of climate change. This is in contrast with government’s existing approach, which currently tries to urge small farmers to diversify their crops in order to adapt to changes in climate.


South African park fees under spotlight at EfD meeting

In an effort to gauge the appropriate entrance and conservation fees for three southern African nature reserves, researchers associated with the University of Cape Town’s Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU) in South Africa spent the month of August poring over results from recent surveys conducted in the respective parks.


How much should SANParks’ visitors pay?

With rising operating costs and no increases in state subsidies, SANParks needs to find alternative ways to fund its national conservation parks in South Africa. But conservation and entrance fees charged at park gates are usually determined unscientifically, and parks can’t show any hard research to explain visitor cover charges.


EPRU hosted EfD Policy Day 2013 in Cape Town

On Wednesday October 23, EPRU hosted the EfD Policy day at Commodore Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa. The policy day brought together policy makers from various governmental levels, practioners, NGOs, international and national researchers. The purpose of the day was twofold, first to identify South African policy makers’ research priorities as input to EPRU’s work, second to highlight examples from EPRU’s research and capacities. The policy day included three distinct sessions focusing on fishery economics; biodiversity and conservation; and climate change.


70 million ZAR fund needed to address post-closure pollution from proposed mine

Within the unique wetland area Mpumalanga Lake District in South Africa lies the site of a proposed, and controversial, opencast coal mine, the Lusthof colliery. It will require a preliminary ‘set-aside’ of about 70 million South African rands (9 million USD) to fund maintenance of water quality in the area’s rivers and lakes for a hundred years after closure, EfD researcher shows. Such set-asides to meet mine closure costs are required by South Africa’s mining legislation. 


The first Energy Workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Research on energy demand in developing countries is important for many reasons. The existing widespread use of solid energy sources (e.g. fuelwood, dung, charcoal, coal, leaves, twigs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in the developing world in general, has a number of environmental implications. Deforestation, disturbance in watersheds, indoor air pollution and loss of biodiversity are some to mention. On the other hand, climbing the “energy ladder” has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, understanding the pattern of household energy demand and its implications on the environment is crucial to formulate appropriate energy policies that affect household welfare, local environment and climate change.


Adaptation to Climate Change Workshop held in Gothenburg

Climate change is expected to have significant impacts on the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan African countries. In this regard, adaptation mechanisms to climate change play a paramount role in reducing the impact on agricultural productivity and food security. With this motivation, the EfD-EEU in Gothenburg, hosted a first collaborative research workshop on the theme “adaptation to climate change in African agriculture” in Gothenburg, Sweden, February 9-10, 2012.


RFF/EfD Book Launch on January 11, 2012 at the University of Cape Town: Higher petrol taxes don’t hurt the poor

The book, "Fuel Taxes and the Poor, The Distributional Effects of Gasoline Taxation and Their Implications for Climate Policy" will be launched at the University of Cape Town, School of Economics on January 11, 2012. EfD research fellow Professor Thomas Sterner, who is also the editor of the book, will be accompanied by EPRU research fellows for the book launch.


Sterner teaches UCT masters course on environmental issues in developing countries

Poverty, natural resource management, and environmental degradation are inextricably linked, and this course explores ways that economic analysis can help identify underlying problems and formulate effective policy responses to them. This course, Sustainable Development and the Economics of Climate Change, is a 10-day field course on environmental issues in developing countries, with an emphasis on issues surrounding global climate change. Thomas Sterner, professor in environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg, are among the lecturers.


Park Pricing Workshop in Zimbabwe completed

Optimal park pricing can help achieve sustainable park management in eastern and southern Africa. The EfD center in South Africa, EPRU, co-hosted the second park pricing workshop in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from 28 to 29 April 2011, together with Department of Economics at the University of Zimbabwe. It focused on an increasingly important sector with major values at stake due to irreversibilities of some types of biodiversity loss.


Putting a Price on Carbon in South Africa: exploring the potential of economic instruments to mitigate climate change

Kerri Brick, EfD research fellow, and Martine Visser, EfD research fellow and coordinator, presented a paper at the Putting a Price on Carbon Conference, held in Cape Town on 23 and 24 March, 2010. The purpose of the conference was to build on the discussions undertaken at a side-event at the 2009 Climate Change Summit where Brick and Visser also presented a paper.


How to enhance biodiversity conservation through economic incentives?

Since 2 years, EPRU research fellow Edwin Muchapondwa has been coordinating a research programme seeking to identify appropriate economic incentives to encourage conservation outside protected areas in Southern Africa. A workshop at the Kruger National Park from the 22 to the 24th October was the occasion for the participants to share their results and to organize future academics collaborations.


Saving Water in Schools: Evidence on the Use of Smart Water Meters and Behavioural Insights

Cape Town has been facing the worst three-year drought in over a century. The situation has become dire as dam levels have dropped to unprecedented lows and households have been restricted to 50 litres of municipal water per person per day. Reducing unsustainable water consumption habits is difficult due to the time lag between water consumption and information reception about volumes consumed. Smart water metering can address this challenge and create awareness around water usage.


Female microenterprise creation and business models for private sector distribution of low-cost renewable off-grid LED lighting

The overall goal of this project it to evaluate whether different business models effectively scale up the distribution of affordable renewable lighting to the poorest of the poor in developing country contexts. It also aims to evaluate the impact of empowering females in poor rural villages via participation in renewable energy enterprises and spillover effects on households’ welfare.


The provision of basic service delivery on well-being: Empirical case studies

Access to basic services and more generally service delivery are hot topics in the current South African political climate with the lack of services being a common cause of spontaneous public protest and rioting. The table below gives an indication of the extent of the lack of services, by race, in Cape Town – one of the study areas of the project.