Inadequate electricity services pose a major impediment to reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Simply put, Africa does not have enough power. Despite the abundant low-carbon and low-cost energy resources available to Sub-Saharan Africa, the region’s entire installed electricity capacity, at a little over 80 GW, is equivalent to that of the Republic of Korea. Looking ahead, Sub-Saharan Africa will need to ramp-up its power generation capacity substantially. The investment needed to meet this goal largely exceeds African countries’ already stretched public finances. Increasing private investment is critical to help expand and improve electricity supply.
Historically, most private sector finance has been channeled through privately financed independent power projects (IPP), supported by nonrecourse or limited recourse loans, with long-term power purchase agreements with the state utility or another off-taker. Between 1990 and 2014, IPPs have spread across Sub-Saharan Africa and are now present in 17 countries.