This paper contributes to the debate on the determinants of deforestation, a menace that is posing threat to sustainable development particularly in tropical developing regions. Specifically, the paper focuses on the effect of energy justice and democratization. The main contribution to the literature hinges on the emphasis on energy justice - operationalized as rural-urban equality in access to electricity and clean fuels and technologies for cooking - and its interaction with democracy. Using a panel data of 47 sub-Saharan African countries over the period 2000–2020 and the dynamic two-step generalized method of moment estimator, the results generally indicate that improvement in rural-urban equality in access to electricity and clean fuels and technologies for cooking is associated with a reduction in deforestation. Democracy is similarly found to be associated with reduction in deforestation. The conditional effect analysis largely depicts an intensified reducing effect of energy justice on deforestation in the presence of improved democratic practices. The results though robust to an alternative estimator, the Driscoll-Kraay estimator, differ when sub-regional analysis is considered. The paper aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 7, 13, 15 and 16.