Which Countries Produce And Consume Most Electricity In Africa?

Written by Dana Sanchez

Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated 43 million TV sets (about one in four households), 17 million fridges (around one in 10 households) and 450 million mobile phones – about one for every two people, VenturesAfrica reports.

But it’s the TVs and fridges — more than the mobile phones — that consume electricity. Mobile provides access to personal and business communications and online banking with relatively low electricity consumption.

South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe are the continent’s top electricity consumers, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“In Southern Africa, average consumption per capita is the highest of all sub-regions, but this is driven principally by very high levels in South Africa and relatively high levels in Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe – all above 500 kWh per capita per year,” said the International Energy Agency in a the report on Sub-Saharan energy prospects.

South Africa’s inclusion is not surprising, given its vastly developed and industrial economy, VenturesAfrica reports. It produces more than 40,000MW of electricity, the highest of any African country.

By comparison, Nigeria produces an average of 2,500MW to 3000MW for a population almost four times the size of its closest economic rival, South Africa.

Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, Nigeria didn’t make the list. Electricity demand and consumption there were expected to top the African chart, according to VenturesAfrica.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Mozambique are the largest net exporters of electricity, each developing large hydroelectric power projects, according to the International Energy Agency. South Africa (the largest importer), Nigeria (the second-largest importer, after South Africa) and some other parts of Southern Africa are the main net importers.

Total residential electricity demand in the sub-Saharan region is expected to grow by 6 percent per year to 2040, with increasing and more reliable supply. Rising incomes are expected to fund the purchase of more TVs and refirgerators.

About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.