In a world grappling with the challenges of climate change and energy sustainability, it is imperative for nations to reassess their energy strategies. The thesis, titled “Critical Analysis of the Future of Energy Sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Just Energy Transitions in Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria,”[1] delves into the intricate dynamics of renewable energy adoption and climate adaptation in three Sub-Saharan African nations. These countries, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria are endowed with abundant renewable energy resources, yet they face significant hurdles in harnessing their full potential.

The study emphasizes the profound impact of renewable energy as a supplementary source to address Africa’s energy needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It reveals that while the potential exists, these nations grapple with a multitude of challenges, including policy and legal constraints, technical limitations, financial barriers, and inadequate infrastructure.

In Cameroon, renewable energy has the potential to significantly contribute to the nation’s energy needs, but this potential remains largely untapped due to a combination of policy, technical, and financial challenges, as highlighted by Yun Gao et al. (2017).[2]

Likewise, Ghana possesses ample solar energy potential, but barriers such as political will, technical constraints, and funding limitations hinder its widespread adoption as indicated by Gyamfi et al.’s (2015) research findings.[3]

Moving to Nigeria, the nation faces a host of issues within its power sector, including grid limitations, inadequate generation capacity, and challenges in transmission and distribution, echoing the concerns raised in the GIZ (2015) analysis.[4]

While these countries share common challenges, they also confront unique issues that affect their energy sectors and climate adaptation strategies.

Amid these challenges, the study underscores the importance of effective policy implementation, which is the linchpin in transitioning to sustainable energy sources and climate resilience, aligning with the insights of Oluwole (2016)[5] on the significance of proactive climate change regimes.

The absence of clear strategic objectives in Cameroon’s electricity sector, for instance, has led to uncertainty and a need for coordinated efforts to direct future investments, resonating with Muhammad et al.’s (2019)[6] call for well-crafted policies for renewable energy deployment.

Climate change’s impact is palpable in Cameroon, as droughts have strained hydroelectric plants, highlighting the urgency of climate adaptation measures, a concern recognized by the IPCC as the biggest security risk of our time.[7]

In Ghana, the power sector’s challenges are multifaceted, encompassing infrastructure limitations, overreliance on specific energy sources, and a pressing need for sustainability, echoing the causal relationship between economic growth and energy use.

Various research shows that Nigeria grapples with grid constraints, insufficient generation capacity, and a host of issues in transmission and distribution, highlighting the complexity of the energy landscape, and the need for sustained, sound, and practicable relationships between stakeholders.

The findings presented in this thesis emphasize the urgency of addressing climate change and transitioning to sustainable energy sources in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change, as identified by the IPCC, is a significant security risk and a global concern. It calls for increased global cooperation in the energy sector and sustainable development. Key recommendations include the development of functional climate change regimes, and the establishment of clear policies for renewable energy deployment, in line with Ana Cravinho et al.’s (2011) recommendation for policies supporting renewable energy implementation.[8] The active involvement of stakeholders in policy formulation and execution is crucial to overcoming the myriad challenges identified in the study, resonating with the importance of public participation and consultation forums.

As these nations strive to achieve their National Determined Contributions targets under the Paris Agreement and work towards sustainable development goals by 2030, there is a growing need for well-crafted policies, strong governance structures, and collaborative efforts to overcome the challenges hindering the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. The world should take note of these findings and support these nations in their journey toward a greener and more sustainable future, aligning with the call for increased global cooperation in the energy sector and sustainable development.[9]



[1] Thesis defended by Magloire Fopokam Tene, “Critical Analysis of the Future of Energy Sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Just Energy Transitions in Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria.”

Graduated from LUISS Guido Carli University, Department of Law, Master of Science in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability. In Rome, Italy, on July 26, 2023.

[2] Yun Gao, Xiang Gao, Xiaohua Zhang. (2017) The 2℃ Global Temperature Target and the Evolution of the Long-Term Goal of Addressing Climate Change from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to the Paris Agreement, 272-278

[3] S. Gyamfi, M. Modjinou, S. Djordjevic, Improving electricity supply security in Ghana—the potential of renewable energy, Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 43 (2015) 1035–1045.

[4] The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH – GIZ (2015)

[5] Oluwole Olutola (2016). Addressing Climate Change in Southern Africa: Any Role for South Africa in the Post-Polis Agreement? 395-409

[6] Muhammad Idra al Irsyad, Anthony Halog, Rabindra Nepal. (2019) Renewable energy projections for climate change mitigation: An analysis of uncertainty and errors, 11pgs

[7] See IPCC – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

[8] Ana Cravinho Martins, Rui Cunha Marques, Carlos Oliveira Cruz. (2011). Public-private partnerships for wind power generation: The Portuguese case 94-104

[9] See footnote 1.