From colonial exploitation to renewable transition: A critical analysis of Africa's energy paradigm
Emmanuel Iniobong Archibong 1 * , Abiodun Paul Afolabi 2 3
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1 University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom Ibom State, NIGERIA2 Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, NIGERIA3 Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Tubingen, GERMANY* Corresponding Author


In this article, we examine the intersection of energy and colonialism in Africa. Specifically, we argue that at the core, colonial projects are driven by the imperative to transform the potential energy stored in colonized (or colonizable) subjects into mechanical energy for the production of wealth. We cohere how the search for new forms of energy has engendered vociferous criticism of fossil fuel and other environmentally degrading sources of energy under energy colonialism. We critique this rationale and identify the (neo)colonial catalysts behind the decisions to switch from one energy form to another. We further argue that colonialism has the coloration of a search for new forms of energy and that the wave of the current push for the transition to renewable energy (RE) in Africa is subtly related to this imperial project. We conclude that although the transition to RE is assumed to be the next big and sustainable energy source for Africa, such a transition must only be deployed after stripping it from the vestiges of colonialism that characterized previous energy transitions. This article, as a contribution to knowledge, provides a framework for a fair and just RE transition in Africa.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

EUR J SUSTAIN DEV RES, 2023, Volume 7, Issue 4, Article No: em0236

Publication date: 03 Sep 2023

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