About 1.4 billion of people world-wide have no access to electricity, roughly half a billion of which lives in Africa. While connection rates in North-African countries and South Africa reach 80 to 90% of the population, they are only 3.5% in Chad and 50 to 60% in Western African countries. Hydropower can help in reducing this undersupply. Hydropower also strategically supplements other renewable energy sources, especially as it provides electricity for peak demand and can be used in pumped storage facilities. Hydropower thus has an important role to play in decarbonising economies.
The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) expects increased growth rates of renewable energy sources, including hydropower. AEEP already committed to installing an additional 10,000 megawatts of hydropower by 2020 – “taking due consideration of social and environmental issues”. Implementing this aim requires strong political support in order to not impose the environmental and social costs of climate protection and socio-economic development on one societal group only. In particular, investments in hydropower must not lead to additional poverty. Experiences with involuntary resettlement demonstrate that this is a prevalent risk.
This page presents a selection of relevant studies, projects and events.