With burgeoning urban populations and growing economies, Sub-Saharan Africa’s electricity needs are growing. Supply has failed to keep up. In 2011, the World Bank estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa must add 8 GW of generation capacity annually through 2015, but in the last decade, the region averaged only 1-2 GW. Chronic load shedding has ensued, constraining economic growth. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that total generation in the region must more than double by 2030 to meet demand. Outside of South Africa, it must triple.
Renewable energy is central to the equation. Sub-Saharan Africa is endowed with a wealth of renewable resources. Its river systems, bioenergy, sunshine and wind could meet the region’s current and future electricity needs. Hydropower already generates 22% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s electricity. However, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal collectively contribute only 1%.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Energy and Economic Growth Applied Research Programme
Hogarth R (2017) Unlocking private investment in renewable power in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oxford Policy Management, 13p