Climate actions can have different economy-wide distributional impacts depending on the chosen actions, how they are implemented, and the actors affected by the respective climate actions. This research theme, therefore, provides the quantitative measure of the distributional impacts of climate actions, in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, which include both mitigation and adaptation. Analyses of macro-economic and economy-wide distributional impacts of these climate actions, the channels through which they flow, and the potential benefits or pitfalls associated with them will provide an evidence base for decision-making and policy development. The distributional impacts focus on the power and agriculture sectors due to their importance to economic growth and development in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, their vulnerability to climate change, and importance in emissions decarbonisation.

The key research questions:

  • What are the quantitative economy-wide impacts of climate actions?
  • Are there spillover benefits?
  • Who benefits? Who is left vulnerable?
  • What is the quantitative impact of economy-wide effects on household welfare and inequality?
  • What is the impact of actions on power planning and emissions?
  • What can be done to mitigate any negative impacts?


The research is structured by:

  1. Using a linked energy–economic–microsimulation modelling framework and application of a common approach to each country to enable cross-country comparison. 
  2. Within this framework, applying three models for each country: namely, a power-sector model, an economy-wide model, and a microsimulation model.
  3. Using qualitative information from other research themes to verify results, address issues in assumptions/modelling, and complement the quantitative results where the model framework lacks ability to include certain information.

To model the economy-wide impacts of climate actions, country-level dynamic recursive computable general equilibrium (CGE) models will be used. CGE models simulates the functioning of the national economy and provides useful insights on the direct and indirect linkages that connect different groups of profit-maximising industries and utility maximising households, as well as the government and the rest of the world. The models also include a detailed representation of households.

As CGE models often do not provide enough details to get an accurate depiction of inequality and poverty impacts, a microsimulation model is added to the modelling framework. 

This modelling framework will be, for the countries considered and for most developing country assessments, an advancement in modelling methodology, and an analytical tool for future country climate-energy-economic-inequality assessments. It thus provides a consistent forward-looking framework for measuring power emissions, macro and household level impacts. This differs from the counterfactual which often looks at such issues in isolation or through analysis of past experiences.

Links to other themes

Selection of climate action interventions in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa will be chosen from a shortlist developed by the project research theme on Future climate response options, portfolios and pathways that leverage co-benefits for the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • Faaiqa Hartley (team leader), University of Cape Town
  • Alison Hughes, University of Cape Town
  • Monica Lambon-Quayefio, University of Ghana
  • Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town
  • Andrew Marquard, University of Cape Town
  • Moses Muriithi, University of Nairobi
  • Robert D. Osei, University of Ghana
  • Nkechi S. Owoo, University of Ghana
  • Vimal Ranchhod, University of Cape Town