In Africa: energy outlook

Materials World magazine
1 Jan 2015

The International Energy Agency has provided a vision for the future of energy in sub-Saharan Africa. Natalie Daniels looks at some of the
key figures. 

The report Africa Energy Outlook – A Focus on Energy Prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa details the present and future for the energy sector in the area, which is rich in resources but poor in supply, with more than 620 millon people living without access to electricity. This is the centre of the global challenge to overcome energy poverty. The report highlights the problems currently facing the sector and shows how future population growth will affect development projects. There are many positive signs of progress and the key focus lies with renewables – by 2040, renewable energy could provide more than 40% of all power generation.

Hydro-electricity is a big contributor to the current energy market. However, areas such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Guinea will have an increased impact as they reduce their share of oil-fired power, which will bring down the regions’ average cost of power.

Key figures:

  • 70% of current energy consumption is from biomass
  • 620m people in Africa live without access to electricity
  • US$1tln cumulative revenue in Nigeria brought in by oil export since 1980
  • 80% of people in sub-Saharan Africa depend on solid biomass, mainly wood fuel for cooking
  • 0.9GW average increase of solar capacity projected per year until 2020
  • 6MMbbl of oil will be produced by 2016
  • 100 years of oil remain at the current level of production in the future
  • 90m people in Nigeria do not have access to grid electricity
  • 45% growth in energy demand from 2000–2012
  • 15% of East Africa’s power generation capacity will be made up of geothermal sources by 2040
  • 16Bbbl of oil yet to be discovered in Madagascar, according to United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • 1bln tonnes of wood needed to meet the 6% increase in biofuel demand by 2040
  • US$450bln investment in the power sector


To view the full report, visit (pdf)