Middle East North African Sustainable Electricity Trajectories (MENA Select)

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This project investigates the socio-economic impacts, risks and opportunities, and potential for conflict, of different electricity scenarios and power production technologies in several countries within the MENA region.

ID 55966199 © Mohamed Kasim Naufal | Dreamstime

ID 55966199 © Mohamed Kasim Naufal | Dreamstime

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and consisting of BICC, Germanwatch, IIASA, the Wuppertal Institute, and the University of Flensburg, the project examines the socio-economic impacts, risks and opportunities of different electricity scenarios within the MENA region by employing a participatory approach with local stakeholders. One of the principle objectives of this project is to help inform national decision-makers and debate with regard to potential pathways for sustainable energy policies.


Middle   Eastern   and   North   African (MENA) countries   have   to find   answers   to   address the increasing demand for energy, whilst simultaneously tackling the challenges of socio-economic development, climate change and political transformation. An important prerequisite for overcoming these challenges is the deployment of new electricity infrastructures. In this regard, most MENA countries stand at a crossroads for new electricity policies: although the scale-up of renewable energies is currently receiving policy support, fossil (coal, gas and oil) and nuclear power are two prominent alternatives in the region’s national development plans. 

Identifying the optimal electricity pathway that (i) would be cost-effective, (ii) would support multiple development objectives and (iii) is conflict-sensitive at the same time, is a complex task and depends on various context specifics. Despite numerous macro-level studies there is high uncertainty how investments into different electricity pathways will interact with social, economic, political and environmental dimensions at multiple scales. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring it is a particularly important to frame national electricity policies in such a way that they incorporate societal demands, and thus avoid further political destabilization. Against this background, the proposed   research   project   intends   to   investigate   how   different   electricity   pathways   can contribute to sustainable development in the MENA region. 

With the overall objective of contributing to the advancement of renewable energy in MENA countries, the project aims to improve the understanding of the complex relationships between different electricity pathways and sustainable development in three selected MENA countries: Morocco, Jordan, and Tunisia. By exploring the economic, social, political and environmental effects of different electricity pathways leading up to 2050 on the national and the local level, the project will apply an integrated approach. In this regard the project goes beyond previous assessments that tended to focus on either singular aspects of sustainable development or specific technologies and covered pathways up to 2020 or 2030.

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Last edited: 17 December 2018


Nadejda Komendantova

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Jenan Irshaid

Researcher Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Researcher Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program


01.01.15 - 31.12.17

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