WWF initiates project to support renewable energy in Cameroon

Posted on 26 July 2019
Children spend hours away from home in search of fuelwood
© Germund Sellgren/WWF
Within the context of the Sida and WWF Sweden-funded Leading the Change: Civil Society, Environment and Rights project, WWF Cameroon and its partner – Environmental Governance Institute (EGI), have initiated a project with the goal of supporting the expansion of energy access and productive use of renewable energy in Cameroon. The project is built within the backdrop of energy challenges in most of rural Cameroon. Only about 14% of the population of most of rural Cameroon has access to electricity.

This represents a fundamental barrier to progress in human well-being and nature conservation. Without access to energy, women and children spend hours away from home in search of firewood. This is not only risking their personal safety but also saps their energy and takes away time from educational and livelihood activities.
Delivering energy services to rural Cameroon faces many challenges.

Firstly, the rural populations are either remote, or poor, or both. Secondly, lack of sufficient power generation capacity, poor transmission and distribution infrastructure, high costs of supply to remote areas, or simply a lack of affordability for electricity, are among the biggest hurdles for extending grid-based electricity.

Even using off-grid systems to serve the dispersed populations can be financially challenging, compounded by poor policies, inadequate regulations, lack of planning and institutional support, lack of financing for off-grid entrepreneurs, and affordability for poorer households.
Cameroon is determined to become an upper-middle income economy by 2035. The medium term strategy to attain this status emphasizes growth and employment. Developing the energy sector is seen as key to attracting investment and strengthening growth.
Through her Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Cameroon has indicated the mitigation and adaptation contributions of ecosystem-based sectors towards global efforts to fight climate change, reduce poverty and promote low carbon and climate-resilient development and priorities.
The country is committed to generate 25% of renewable energy from sources other than large-scale hydropower and has prioritized the supply of electricity to remote rural areas, especially those around protected areas.
The NDC carries an emission reduction target of 32% (11% unconditionally and 21% conditional on international support) by 2035 relative to 2010 emissions baseline.
Through her Cameroon country strategy, WWF has committed to supporting government deliver the NDC commitments. So far, WWF and EGI have completed a renewable energy and energy access stakeholder and institutional analysis. Policy barriers and opportunities, including opportunities for mainstreaming renewable energy and energy access across sectorial policies and programs to facilitate end-user uptake of productive uses of energy, gaps and linkages have been identified.

Furthermore, the partners have assessed the capacity of the institutions and stakeholders to determine entry points for strengthening their capacity to work together to influence the renewable energy and energy access policy and have also proposed potential mechanisms to promote coordination and cooperation among them.

WWF Cameroon is determined to complete two other phases that include assessing energy resource availability and forecasting demand near protected areas and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas in selected regions of the country and promotion of energy service delivery and access to finance and markets.

Children spend hours away from home in search of fuelwood
© Germund Sellgren/WWF Enlarge
lack of affordability for electricity, are among the biggest hurdles for extending grid-based electricity
© Theophilus Ngwene/WWF Enlarge