The enormous increase in renewable energy in Africa in recent years, and the projections for these sectors’ continued growth in the near future as part of poverty alleviation strategies, has not been accompanied by a parallel increase in research on the consequences of this energy revolution.

The development of renewable energy projects and sectors pose a set of unique challenges for African states that have not been adequately explored in research, mostly urgently the potential for these sectors and the mineral value chains that support them to trigger violent conflict.

This 3-year mixed-method, interdisciplinary project will improve knowledge about 1) the state of renewable energy in Africa; 2) the pathways by which renewable energy conflicts occur; and 3) the types of mechanisms required to prevent and resolve them. We will provide the first cross-continent mapping of knowledge and data on renewable energy sectors and mineral value chains, and of relevant legal and voluntary governance initiatives regulating these sectors. We will generate evidence-based policy recommendations about how to avoid and prevent renewable energy conflicts through a systematic, cross-country analysis of existing evidence as well as through in-depth study of “green curse” dynamics in Uganda. The project will identify paths to violent conflict useful for actors in renewable energy sectors, and propose new violence-preventing institutional solutions in these sectors.

Project period: 2020-2023


  • Research Council of Norway