This report describes one of the most poorly understood parts of the global energy system, offers an authoritative study of its future prospects, broken down by fuel, sector and sub-region and shows how investment in the sub-Saharan energy sector can stimulate rapid economic and social development across the region.
Chapter 1 analyses sub-Saharan Africa’s energy sector as it is today. It outlines important economic and social trends, and quantifies the number of people without access to modern energy. It details the existing energy architecture, including the power sector and other energy-consuming sectors, the scale of sub-Saharan Africa’s energy resources and its energy production trends. Patterns of energy trade are mapped out and, finally, it considers the critical issue of energy affordability. Chapter 2 assesses the energy demand and supply prospects for sub-Saharan Africa through to 2040 by fuel, sector and sub-region to present a comprehensive outlook for the energy sector, including for international energy trade and some of the main environmental implications. Chapter 3 examines five key features of the sub-Saharan energy outlook in-depth, including (1) the role of different solutions in providing access to electricity, (2) how rapidly the region might make the transition to cleaner alternatives for cooking, (3) the extent to which oil can fuel progress in Nigeria, (4) the costs and benefits of South Africa diversifying its electricity system towards renewables and the policies involved and (5) the opportunities and obstacles that Mozambique and Tanzania face as they seek to get the best value from their natural gas resources. Chapter 4 considers how to maximize the gain from sub-Saharan energy as a means to build a path to prosperity for its citizens. An “African Century Case” shows how progress in three key areas of energy policy could deliver a major boost to economic and social development in the region. These are (1) increased investment in supply, in particular of electricity, to meet the region’s growing energy needs, (2) improved management of natural resources and associated revenues and (3) deeper regional co-operation. The report concludes by setting Africa’s energy choices in a global context, as many of the actions that need to be taken in the region cannot be isolated from the prevailing trends in global energy markets.

Publication date
Type of publication
Renewable energy