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Cameroon Sectors

What is Cameroonʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Power sector in 2030

Though Cameroon’s power sector does have a significant amount of renewables in its power mix, fossil fuels generate over one-third of Cameroon’s power. The share of fossils fuels in the power mix has been growing steadily over the past two decades.

1.5°C compatible pathways demonstrate that the power sector carbon intensity could decline from 290 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to 30 gCO₂/kWh by 2030. This could be achieved through a sharp reduction of fossil fuels in the power mix from 38% in 2019 to 0-3% by 2030. This would be supported by a high uptake of diversified renewable energy (including solar, wind, hydro)) in the power mix from a share of 62% in 2017 to 97-100% by 2030.

Cameroon’s 2021 NDC target of increasing the share of renewables, excluding large hydro, in its electricity mix to 25% by 2035 is a step in the right direction towards diversification of the power mix.

Decarbonising the power sector

Cameroon’s power sector could be decarbonised by 2032. All analysed 1.5°C compatible pathways see a rapid decline in carbon intensity of Cameroon’s power sector -20 to 0 gCO₂/kWh by 2040 and already halved by 2025 in three scenarios. With hydropower generating 62% of Cameroon’s electricity in 2019, the country is well placed to shift to at least 97%renewables in the power sector by around 2030.6 By 2023, the amount of hydro in the power mix is expected to increase to 75%.3 However, Cameroon’s lack of diversification of power generation has already resulted in power shortages caused by significant changes in Cameroon’s traditional patterns of water availability impacting hydropower generation. A shift towards Cameroon’s underexploited renewables such as solar, which only produced 19 GWh in 20196 despite an average solar irradiance estimated at between 4.9-5.8 kWh/day/m2, or wind would alleviate regular power shortages caused by water availability variations and inadequate energy supply.12

The rest of Cameroon’s electricity is generated from natural gas (26% in 2019) and oil (12% in 2019).6 Cameroon has plans to step up its exploration efforts of offshore and onshore oil and gas deposits to increase its reserves and production of both fossil fuels, focusing on the new onshore basins in the northern part of the country.1 As the share of oil has been on a downward trend and coal does not exist in Cameroon’s power mix, investing in gas-to-power plans would lock in a carbon intensive pathway and risk stranded assets.

While the urban electrification rate in Cameroon in 2019 was 93%, the rural rate was 24%.2 Additionally, disparities exist between southern regions (88% rate access) and northern (47% access rate) of Cameroon which is exacerbated by political instability in the North, Northwest, and Southwest regions.13 Thus, expanding electricity access and securing reliability of supply are additional challenges Cameroon faces in transforming its power sector.

Exploitation of Cameroon’s hydropower resources combined with decentralised renewable energy solutions, such as solar and wind, could provide an alternative to Cameroon’s heavy reliance on biofuels and waste and address the country’s inadequate energy supply. These decentralised renewable energy solutions would also offer a low-cost option to overcome grid limitations and expand electricity access to the populations in rural areas. This is dependent on significant financial investment, improved planning and maintenance of infrastructure, technology transfers, and capacity building.

1 République du Cameroun. Contribution déterminée au niveau national – Actualisée (CDN). 58 (2021).

2 World Bank Group. World Development Indicators: Cameroon. (2022).

3 African Development Bank (AfDB). Country priority plan and diagnostic of the electricity sector: Cameroon. (2021).

4 African Energy Commission (AFREC). AFREC Africa Energy Balances 2019. (2019).

5 Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). OEC Cameroon country page. (2019).

6 International Energy Agency (IEA). Data and statistics: Cameroon. (2022).

7 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Natural gas reserves. (2021).

8 African Energy Commission (AFREC). Africa Energy Efficiency for the Residential Sector 2019. (2019).

9 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Atlas of Africa Energy Resource. (2017).

10 International Hydropower Association. Hydropower Status Report: Sector Trends and Insights. (2019).

11 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Cameroon. (2019).

12 , R. E. and E. E. P. Policy and Regulation Overview by Country: Cameroon. (2012).

13 Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Énergie. Plan Directeur d’Electrification Rurale du Cameroun (PDER). (2016).

14 Cousins, S. The 75 per cent problem: aluminium’s carbon footprint..

15 See assumptions here.

16 Global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C tend to include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches, and often rely on rather conservative assumptions in the development of renewable energy technologies. This tends to result in greater reliance on technological CDR than if a faster transition to renewables were achieved. The scenarios available at the time of this analysis focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology, and our downscaling methods do not yet take national BECCS potentials into account.

Cameroonʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
SSP1 High CDR reliance
Low energy demand
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Renewables incl. biomass

Cameroonʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand
  • 100%RE

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Cameroon

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
0 to 20
−20 to 0
2030 to 2032
Relative to reference year in %
−99 to −94%
−109 to −100%
−105 to −104%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Share of unabated gas
0 to 3
2029 to 2034
Share of renewable energy
97 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
0 to 3


Demand shifting towards the power sector

The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time. See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.

Cameroonʼs renewable electricity investments

Billion USD / yr


Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy

Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in Cameroon to be on the order of USD 1 to 2 billion by 2030 and USD 1 to 7 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘high energy demand, low CDR reliance’ pathway shows a particularly high increase in renewable capacity investments, which could be driven by an increase of electrification of end-use sectors, growing energy demand, and expansion of electricity access. Other modelled have relatively lower investments in renewables and rely to varying degrees on other technologies and measures such as energy efficiency and negative emissions technologies, of which the latter can require high up-front investments.