2009 Water for Agriculture and Energy - Conference Report


1Compared to other developing countries the level of access to electricity in Africa is low, despite the continent s rich resources. Over 90 percent of the rural population relies on traditional biomass energy sources such as wood, charcoal, crop waste, manure, etc. for cooking and heating, and candles and kerosene for lighting. The African continent is endowed with enormous hydropower potential that needs to be harnessed. Despite this huge potential, only a small fraction has been exploited. Developing Africa s vast hydropower potential could address the socio-economic problems of the continent. At the time of writing the focus over the years in many African countries had been on large-scale hydropower schemes. However, electricity generation through small hydropower (SHP) was gaining ground due to its short gestation period, low investment and lowest environmental impacts. This report compiles available information on large and small hydropower (SHP) capacities for currently installed, potential, ongoing and pipe-line projects in Africa.