Like many countries in the developing world, the West African countries face major challenges on their way to sustainable development. For the future development the insufficient and not sustainable energy supply is one key obstacle. In that context the advantages of the use of renewable energies are underestimated, although they could play an important role in solving energy shortfalls and help to tackle impacts of climate change on the poorest.
The coordinated cooperation of different scientific and regional perspectives can develop a transparent, comprehensive and independent analysis of energy related questions, which can serve as sound basis for future decision processes towards sustainable development.
The cooperation between the Wuppertal Institute and its Senegalese partners CERER (Centre d'Etude et de Recherche sur les Energies Renouvelables), ENDA-tm (Environnement et développement du tiers monde) and ISDL (Institut supérieur de développement local) aimed at reviewing scientific findings of previous programs interdisciplinary and at enhancing existing successful models from other regions. Beyond that, our new partnership developed ideas for joint research projects on sustainable energy systems that can contribute to a harmonious, regional, economic and social development.
To build up the partnership, we conducted an internal workshop to exchange our research mission. In a second step we discussed about our understanding of existing research gaps, identified eight relevant topics and developed possible research questions for common work.
In a workshop in Dakar, in February 2011, we discussed and exchanged the identified research topics and questions with relevant stakeholders to sharpen the research focus. It was most relevant to involve not only the research society, but also to learn from practical experiences in Senegal/West Africa.
Based on these discussions, a prioritisation of the research topics was developed. Recently we developed a common research approach, which is focussing on energy-related needs. With the project-outline we currently look for options to apply for research funding for our proposal and thereby further strengthen our partnership for a hopefully long-lasting and fruitful cooperation.