Business & Future of Work

Hany Abo El Wafa

Dr.-Ing. TU Munich | Sustainable Growth & Digital Technology

Dr.-Ing. TU Munich | Sustainable Growth & Digital Technology


Shelter, food and water have been humanity’s basic needs for survival for thousands of years. Population growth and the hazards associated with poor management of the environment, however, have contributed to the degradation of the quality of life and threaten the sustainability of urban and rural environment. There are a few places on the planet that the effects of such practices are more evident than the urban regions of the Sub-Sahara African cities.

The Digital Arabia Network (DAN) believes in the potential of the digital technology and connects digital pioneers and innovators in the Arab world with the goal of improving the environment and our communities and transforming our lives to a better place. Hany Abo el Wafa is one of these digital innovators.

Dr.-Ing. Abo el Wafa is a senior researcher in geospatial analysis and modelling with a research focus on sustainable city planning and renewable energies. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo and conducted his graduate studies and PhD at the Technical University Munich (TUM).

Dr. Abo el Wafa is a specialist in the fields of remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. He uses GIS-based models for researching different environmental and sustainability topics in urban contexts. Most noteworthy is his work in the modelling of Urban Growth in the Addis Ababa project.

His main research interest is in spatial analysis and sustainable planning of African cities. The findings of his field of research have practical implications for urban planners who are seeking to achieve a more sustainable planning of urbanizing regions in Sub-Saharan African cities. This work is of rising importance as there is a need to adopt a new model for compact urban development, which protects and integrates green infrastructure in order to increase urban resilience and food security.

In one of his research projects, Dr. Abo El Wafa developed with his colleagues an Urban Spatial Scenario Design Model (USSDM), which is a spatial scenario modelling approach to simulate settlement expansion in cities and surrounding regions. He used USSDM for the case study of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to simulate the settlement expansion in different settlement density scenarios. Spatial indicators and environmental as well as hydrological models were used to study the impact of settlement expansion on food provisioning and flood regulating ecosystem services. These services are assessed under current conditions and in the future for different scenarios of settlement expansion. The losses of farmland and the potential exposure of urban inhabitants to flood hazards were estimated. Finally, settlement area expansion in the sub-watershed of the little Akaki River (regional area of Addis Ababa) was modelled with the use of a hydrological model to analyze the consequent changes in flood patterns inside the city.

Dr. Abo El Wafa is currently managing the FIThydro project, a Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Union’s horizon 2020 as part of the low-cost, low-carbon energy supply program and on the topic of “Developing the next generation technologies of renewable electricity”. In FIThydro, 26 partners from Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, France and other countries are working together to develop Fish-friendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower in Europe.