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Africa, and the efficient use of hydropower


Hydropower is a main of renewable energy in almost all the continents, Asia, America etc. Did you know that hydropower is the leading source of electricity in Africa? And that it accounts for almost half of the continent’s total installed capacity. With so much potential, it’s no wonder that hydropower is being touted as a key solution to Africa’s energy woes. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the facts about hydropower in Africa, including its benefits and challenges.

How is hydropower used in Africa?

Both the supply of electricity and water for communities in Africa is aided extensively by hydropower. Hydropower is the primary source of electricity, in many countries in the African continent accounting for as much as 80% of the total power generated.

The majority of hydropower plants in Africa are located in the Northern and Southern regions of the continent. The largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa is the Aswan Dam in Egypt, which has a capacity of 2,100 MW. Other large hydropower plants in Africa include the Koka Dam in Ethiopia (1,870 MW), the Jebel Aulia Dam in Sudan (1,800 MW), and the Owen Falls Dam in Uganda (1,000 MW).

While large hydropower plants provide a significant amount of electricity for African countries, smaller-scale hydropower projects are also being developed to serve remote communities that are not connected to the grid. a variety of technologies are used by These off-grid projects use including micro-hydro systems, pico-hydro systems, and solar PV/hydro hybrid systems.


What are the main countries in Africa that use hydropower?

Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, and Zambia are the major countries that are using hydropower in the African continent. Each country has their respective reasons for why they rely on hydropower but the benefits do not differ, they remain the same. Some of the advantages out of many in using hydropower include that it is renewable, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Hydropower in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has the possibility to become a leading hydropower producer in Africa. Ethiopia has an estimated 45,000 MW of hydropower potential, of which only around 1,700 MW has been developed.

It has been an aim of the Ethiopian government to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s power mix and has set a target of generating 30% of its electricity from renewables by 2025. Hydropower is expected to play a significant role in meeting this target, with the government planning to add 10,000 MW of new capacity by 2025.

Ethiopia has already made progress in developing its hydropower sector. The country’s largest hydropower plant, the Gilgel Gibe III dam, began operations in 2016 and has a capacity of 1,870 MW. The dam is located on the Omo River and its construction was funded by Chinese loans.

The Ethiopian government is also constructing another large hydropower plant on the Blue Nile River, known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). When completed, GERD will have a capacity of 6,000 MW and will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa. Construction of GERD is currently ongoing and is funded by Chinese loans and Ethiopian investment.

Hydropower in Mozambique

Since hydropower is the main renewable energy source in Africa, as of 2016, hydropower accounted for approximately 8% of the continent’s total power generation capacity.

When it comes to hydropower Mozambique is also one of the leading countries in Africa The country has an installed hydropower capacity of 2,035 MW, which is equivalent to around 14% of Mozambique’s total power generation capacity.

The Zambezi River Basin has the majority of Mozambique’s hydropower potential . The Zambezi River is home to some of the largest hydroelectric projects in Africa, such as the Cahora Bassa Dam (2,075 MW) and the Mphanda Nkuwa Dam (1,400 MW).

Other notable hydropower projects in Mozambique include the Massingir Dam (220 MW), the Corumana Dam (200 MW), and the Songo Songo Island Plant (54 MW).

Hydropower in Uganda

Uganda is another one of the countries out of the above mentioned list. The country has an estimated hydropower potential of 2,000 MW. However, only about 200 MW of this potential has been developed. The Owen Falls Dam, which is located on the Victoria Nile generates the major half of the hydropower of Uganda

Uganda has been working hard to develop its hydropower potential in recent years.
In 2015, the Ugandan government announced a plan to increase the country’s installed capacity to 1,700 MW by 2030. If it is implemented as planned it would be a huge increase from the current level of 200 MW.

The main reason why Uganda wants to develop its hydropower potential is that it is a very cost-effective and clean source of energy. Hydropower plants have low operating costs and they do not produce emissions. This makes them a very attractive option for countries like Uganda that are looking to expand their power generation capacity without harming the environment.

Uses and benefits of hydropower in Africa

Hydropower provides a clean and reliable source of electricity that can be used to power homes, businesses, and industries. Hydropower can also be taken to use to pump water for irrigation, domestic use, and industrial processes.

In addition to providing a clean and reliable source of energy, hydropower also has several other benefits. For example, it helps in the regulation of water flow in rivers, to prevent floods, and generate income through the sale of electricity. Hydropower can also satisfy jobs in the construction and operation of hydropower plants.

Africa has a huge potential for hydropower development. With the many large rivers with high levels of rainfall in Africa that could be used to harness to generate electricity. In addition, Africa’s growing population and economy will create an increasing energy demand, making hydropower an important option for meeting future energy needs.

The future of hydropower in Africa

The future of hydropower in Africa looks promising due to the continent’s many river basins and large water resources, making it ideal for hydropower development. There are already many hydropower plants in operation across the continent, and many more are being planned and built.

Hydropower is a renewable energy source that can help African countries meet their growing energy needs while also reducing emissions. Hydropower plants can be built on a small or large scale, making them suitable for both rural and urban areas. With continued investment and technical assistance, hydropower could play a major role in powering Africa’s future.


Hydropower is a renewable energy source with great potential it is estimated that hydropower could provide up to 50% of the continent’s electricity needs. However, there are many challenges to be faced in the field of developing hydropower in Africa, including a lack of infrastructure, financing, and technical expertise. Nonetheless, hydropower is an important part of the African energy mix and has the probability to transform the lives of millions of people on the continent.

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