Africa is hungry for energy. Only 24% of sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity and the energy generation capacity of Africa (excluding South Africa) is only 28 Gigawatts, equal to that of Argentina alone. The demand is only set to rise with increasing population, urbanization and economic productivity. Because of little installed capacity, there is low energy consumption and access. Even those connected to a power grid experience an average of 54 days of power outage a year – that’s darkness for 15% of the year.
The African commercial sector has been forced to resort to using expensive generators to make up for this gap in energy supply. But, generator power is very costly and is, on average, a staggering four times the price of grid power. Businesses that operate in Africa work with much higher operational costs than their counterparts elsewhere – this is not only true for business in power heavy sectors but also for general businesses such as banks and supermarkets. Energy is a disproportionately large expense for business in Africa.