Cameroon’s energy policy in Central Africa

 

Cameroon is a bridgehead between Central Africa and West Africa, a land of contrasts characterized by different climates and languages. But that’s not all, because the country is crossed by a linguistic dividing line between the two official languages, English and French. However, the political upheavals of recent years give us reason to think about which strategy will be chosen to put the country on a common course. This of course makes it much more difficult to develop a unified energy policy for the whole country, which could lead to the unification of the state. The geographical characteristics of Cameroons and the climatic peculiarities of individual regions of the country make it much more difficult to commit oneself to strategies supported by all regions of Cameroons, especially in the field of energy production.


Hydropower can make a significant contribution to the energy supply in the south of Cameroon.


The most striking aspect here is the huge potential of hydropower, which can cover a large part of the domestic energy supply. Along the tributaries and the mighty Sanaga River, dams can be built that can cover a large part of the electricity requirements in coastal parts of Nigeria. In fact, Nigeria is unable to meet its electricity needs from its own sources, and due to the rapidly growing population could be dependent on energy imports in the future, even if Nigeria should be in a better position to use its domestic oil reserves for power generation. It has to be considered, however, that Cameroon, like most of Nigeria, does not have a continuous power grid, especially not beyond the country’s borders. For the export and import of electricity, an effective, transnational high-voltage grid must be set up before any consideration is given to exporting the electricity from Cameroon’s future hydroelectric power plants to Nigeria.


The interests of neighbouring countries in energy policy are similar to those of Cameroon.


The Democratic Republic of Congo is pursuing very similar strategies in terms of energy policy, as it wants to become one of Africa’s largest exporters of electricity through the construction of the Inga dam. But in order to achieve this goal, a transcontinental power grid is needed to effectively export the electricity across national borders to West Africa and South Africa. The lion’s share of the electricity exports will certainly go to West Africa due to the population density in the coastal areas of West Africa.


Solar energy can make a significant contribution to the energy security of remote regions of Cameroon.


Especially in the decentralized regions of Cameroon, it makes sense to use the solar energy available in abundance to generate electricity, precisely because Cameroon does not yet have a fully connected power grid. The electricity generated by hydroelectric power can only be used to a limited extent in the north because of the enormous losses caused by the enormous distances that electricity transport would require. An energy mix of hydropower and solar energy, and the promotion of a supra-regional power grid should be a central concern of Cameroon.


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