Africa’s Contribution to the Discourse on Environment, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development




renewable energy, neocolonialism, sustainable development, colonialism, environment, free trade, imperialism


Renewable energy and sustainability are vital for the development of Africa. Social welfare and economic growth are contingent on meeting the consumption needs and production targets using modern, sustainable energy sources. This is particularly crucial to Africans, given that the continent is home to the least developed countries globally, and the population with access to electricity is less than half. Colonialism has undoubtedly impacted and shaped our energy and, consequently, environmental transitions by allowing the traumatic exploitation of natural habitats and plundering of minerals, all at the service of the formation of their early modern states and the growth of capitalism. This status has been greased and maintained using neo-colonial and imperial tools such as the illusion of ‘free trade’, structural adjustment programs and crippling debt. All these are aimed at staging a stagnation of economic development that translates to underdeveloped industries and inefficient energy production levels. The domino effect of this is also seen in the current environmental crisis, which is essentially the biological destruction of wildlife and marine life while posing grave dangers to the continuation of African civilisation. This article explores the impact of imperialism and traces of neo-colonialism on the energy sector in Africa and how Africa can push for renewable energy by building its own industries and utilising abundant resources to chart a path towards sustainability. It dives into the depths of already established renewable energy programs that the states ought to accelerate to enable them to reach wider populations, as well as the mutually beneficial relationship we have between renewable energy and the environment.


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How to Cite

Mutuma, Kenneth Wyne. 2023. “Africa’s Contribution to the Discourse on Environment, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development”. South African Yearbook of International Law 48:26 pages.
Received 2023-09-21
Accepted 2023-11-20
Published 2023-12-26