Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Chinese Companies Increasingly Important In Sub-Saharan Africa Power Sector

Chinese companies are becoming increasingly important in the sub-Saharan Africa power sector, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

Access to electricity is still lagging behind the rest of the world in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 635 million people living without electricity. The power sector in the region needs greater access to capital funds, technologies, and capacity building, and significant investment is needed to support the development of the sector.

According to the new IEA report, power projects built by Chinese companies across the sub-Saharan Africa region are contributing significantly to the region’s power sector expansion, with China setting itself up as a major source of financing in Africa. So far, Chinese companies have invested in power sources in all flavors, except nuclear, and all sizes of projects. In contrast, OECD countries avoid financing large hydropower dams or coal-fired power plants.

“African countries have relied heavily on China to support the expansion of their electricity systems, to enable growth and improve living standards,” said Paul Simons, the IEA’s Deputy Executive Director.

Specifically, Chinese companies have invested around $13 billion between 2010 and 2015 into sub-Saharan Africa, financed largely through public lending from China. Chinese companies operating as the main contractor in the region were responsible for 30% of new capacity additions in 2010 to 2015, with more than 200 greenfield power projects contracted to Chinese companies over the period. Chinese contractors have currently built or are currently contracted to build 17 GW of generation capacity between 2010 to 2020, equivalent to around 10% of existing installed capacity in the region.

Though China is not avoiding coal-fired capacity, Chinese contractors have focused on hydropower. In fact, renewable sources account for 56% of the total capacity added by Chinese projects between 2010 and 2020, including 49% from hydropower. There are biomass and waste-to-energy projects in Ethiopia, and hydropower dams in Gabon and Zambia, and other renewable energy projects in Senegal and South Africa.

The main focus for Chinese power projects, however, seems to be aimed at increasing access to electricity in a region where it is famously short on such access. Over 2010 to 2020, a total of 120 million people will gain access to electricity from the power grid for the first time, thanks to grid development and increasing power generation capacity.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

East Africa Breweries PLC (EABL) has just published its 2022 Sustainability Report. Established in 1922, EABL’s network of breweries, distillers, and distribution network spans...


Following closely on the heels of rumors about sodium-ion batteries, BYD announced a new 20 GWh battery factory in China.

Clean Transport

Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has an installed generation capacity of 1,904 MW, of which over 86% is drawn from green sources, namely:...


General Motors is set to introduce new electric cars in China and may bring a Chinese EV to the US shortly.

Copyright © 2022 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.