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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

An analysis and framework for resource sharing: A look at Harare’s electricity, water, and transport resources

The unequal temporal and spatial distribution of resources and a lack of sharing mechanisms have resulted in the wastage and underutilisation of materials, goods, and services. Increased demand for electricity, transport, and water due to the global rise in population and urbanisation is mounting pressure on the earth's finite resources, broadly causing social, economic, and environmental problems. About 50% of Harare residents struggle to get reliable and clean piped water, 21% do not have electricity, and the public transport system has failed to meet demand. However, these resources are available in excess to some. Current approaches to resource sharing are not guided by intersectoral frameworks, and existing studies do not address sharing challenges in the context of Harare.

This research aims to identify the key drivers, challenges, and opportunities and formulate a framework that policymakers, technology designers, producers, and consumers can use to promote the sharing of water, electricity, and transport in Harare. To this end, a literature review was conducted to understand the background of resource sharing. The factors to resource sharing in Harare were identified through semi-structured interviews with government, city council, energy, business, technology, and community development experts. Qualitative analysis based on the grounded theory and a systems thinking approach were used to identify the key drivers, challenges, opportunities, and trends in the sharing of transport, electricity, and water.

Results revealed that the drivers and challenges to sharing in Harare can be categorised as institutional, social, economic, and physical and technical. The key drivers include trust, culture, technology, gain, and policy. An absence of these drivers poses some challenges in promoting resource sharing. Another important finding was that most factors were common across the three sectors and that a single framework can address the sharing of electricity, water, and electricity. The framework acknowledges the different scenarios in which it may be applied, and proposes three resource-sharing classes: relational, transactional, and institutional.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.