About Us

The African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI) is the University of Cape Town’s active response to the climate change and development challenge. The ACDI merges climate change issues with development issues and brings together UCT’s breadth and depth of research and teaching in these areas.  Previously these activities were largely conducted in isolation within a variety of departments and research centres. The ACDI was set up in 2011 by UCT Vice-Chancellor Max Price as one of four strategic initiatives, each contributing to UCT’s mission to tackle key issues in the social and natural worlds. It is also one of the Vice-Chancellor’s signature themes;  these themes are chosen to drive research in a strategic manner, and are grounded in existing areas of internationally-recognized excellence at UCT, whilst being aligned with institutional, regional and national priorities. In 2016 the ACDI produced its five year report (2011-2015), available here.


The need for the ACDI

Continued high carbon development on the African continent would cause between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees of additional warming. Africa’s major economic sectors are already vulnerable to current climate variability, with huge economic impacts. This vulnerability is aggravated by existing developmental challenges such as: high levels of poverty and economic inequality; weak and/or ineffective governance systems; limited access to capital, markets, infrastructure and technology; increasing ecosystem degradation; and high rates of disasters and conflicts. These existing challenges will be greatly compounded under climate change, especially considering that Africa’s population of 1.1 billion people is likely to increase to 2.4 billion in 2050, and potentially 4.2 billion by 2100.


  • To increase scientific knowledge and understanding on climate change and development;
  • To educate and train new generations of researchers, practitioners and decision-makers;
  • To increase awareness and promote better informed decision-making about climate change and development by engaging with a wide range of key audiences and stakeholders;
  • To co-create a developing world that has a sustainable growth trajectory, and the capacity to adapt to climate change and its related issues;
  • We work to achieve these objectives  by collaborating with partners and communities to support the effective management of these challenges in Africa and beyond. 



  • Leadership & Facilitation
  • Relevance
  • Afropolitanism
  • Engagement
  • Innovation
  • Transdisciplinarity & Interdisciplinarity



The ACDI acts as the entity that brings together research and teachings on climate change and development issues from different departments, centres and independent groups operating at the University, a few of which are mentioned below (click image to enlarge).