LowCarbonPower logo
Instagram Facebook X (Twitter)

Electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021

Global Ranking: #169
35.2% #100 Low-carbon electricity
NaN watts #214 Generation / person
488.56 gCO2eq/kWh #132 Carbon Intensity

In 2021, over half (around 64%) of Sub-Saharan Africa's electricity consumption was produced from fossil sources, with coal alone making up almost 45%. Gas propelled a further 11% of this energy source. In terms of low-carbon electricity, it stands at just over a third, around 35%, with hydropower being the major contributor at 27%, and nuclear standing at a meagre 2%. Meanwhile, other low-carbon sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal and biofuels combined make up close to 7%.


When analyzing successful countries, Sub-Saharan Africa can draw lessons from those that have harnessed a substantial amount of low-carbon electricity sources. In terms of expanding nuclear energy generation, countries like France and Slovakia which generate 66% and 61% of their electricity from nuclear respectively can serve as models. Moreover, harnessing wind energy, as Denmark does, to produce almost 60% of the nation's electricity could be emulated. Similarly, other countries have utilized their geographical environments effectively. For example, Chile has tapped into its vast solar energy potential to generate 20% of its electricity. Yemen, a country with similar climatic characteristics to some Sub-Saharan African nations, also utilizes solar to supply 17% of its electricity.


The history of low-carbon electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa shows a fluctuating trend in different sources. The early 2010s saw an expansion in hydropower electricity generation, with an increase of 4.4 TWh in 2013, followed by a bigger one of 7 TWh in 2014. However, it witnessed a decline of about 3 TWh in 2015. Nuclear power generation, which was struggling in the same period, saw a significant dip by 2.8 TWh in 2015, before rebounding to an addition of 4.1 TWh in 2016, only to decline again in 2018 and 2021 by 2.6 and 3.5 TWh respectively. Meanwhile, other low-carbon sources like wind and solar saw modest but steady increases in the last years of the decade, highlighting potential areas for further expansion.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

This is an aggregate region with data from: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo - Brazzaville, Congo - Kinshasa, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Instagram Facebook X (Twitter)