The empirical reality & sustainable management failures of renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa (part 1 or 2)


We investigate causes of failure of renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa based on empirical data.

We analyse 29 projects from ten different Sub-Saharan African countries.

Our approach is ethnographical in the sense that we physically observe (and interview) the stakeholders.


The future of electrification of Africa lies within off-grid generation via renewable energy (RE). Although many RE projects have started across the Sub-Sahara, especially public projects are seldom successful. This study engages directly (ethnographically) with the local communities benefitting or expected to benefit from the projects, the implementing organizations and government.

Despite the differences in culture and understanding, the reasons for failure of the projects are found to be similar across the different countries: (i) political agenda, (ii) process of awarding projects, (iii) stakeholder co-operation, (iv) planning & implementation, (v) maintenance and (vi) public acceptance & inclusion.


  • Renewable energy;
  • Sustainable management;
  • Ethnography;
  • Developing countries;
  • Project failure

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