For many years it has been a given that countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have needed more power generation capacity. A key focus for donors and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) has been to promote interventions designed to create an enabling environment in which the required investments in generation are possible. In many cases this has been successful with private sector investment in power generation, especially renewable power generation, having stepped up. China has also been active, with several large-scale power generation projects either now operational or under construction.

As a result of these trends, some countries may have surplus power generation capacity over the coming years; indeed, some countries already have a surplus. This discussion paper:

  • Identifies the countries and regions within SSA where a surplus is most likely,
  • Discusses the causes of the surplus capacity identified and some of the effects that may result over the coming years, and
  • Proposes strategies and solutions that might help to mitigate the effect of surpluses in the short-term and reduce the risk of such surpluses recurring in future.