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First Off-Grid Business Indicator Africa shows market potential of 69 billions USD

The collection of reliable market data for the off-grid market is difficult, sometimes even impossible. Therefore and most frequently, the number published by the World Bank is repeated over and over, according to which 1.2 billion people live without access to energy. However, with this number the importance of the off-grid market is far from being gathered. Additional data can be found occasionally in studies and publications, though dispersed and not processed.

With the "Off-Grid Business Indicator" (OBIN), the Stiftung Solarenergie - Solar Energy Foundation has for the first time brought together information from different data sources and prepared them focused on their relevance for the off-grid market. The now first published Indicator "OBIN Africa" takes account of all countries of this continent that have an electrification rate of less than 80%. The information for each country is divided into information on the off-grid market potential and the country-specific business environment.

Executive Summary

  • Market potential:
    68.6 billions USD for basic power supply
    9.2 billions USD 
    of the more than 300 mill. kerosene lamps

  •  The five biggest markets:
    1. Nigeria 
    2. Ethiopia
    3. DR Congo
    4. Tanzania
    5. Kenya
  • Best business environment: 
    Botswana and South Africa
  • The most problematic factors for business: 
    1. Access to financing
    2. Corruption
    3. Inadequate supply of infrastructure
  • Population Off-Grid and On-Grid under-serviced: 
    674.3 mill. = 78.2 %


Download full study here.


Send your comments here.



Comment by
Pierre Telep on February 26, 2014

A very good metric, the OBIN indicator is a clear and comprehensive metric which supplies a clear and objective overview of the off-grid market trend. If you accept this comment, I would suggest in the market potential formulas to include two corrective multiplicative factors: one which takes into account the existing penetration of off-grid systems and the other which weights per country the USD value of the solar systems. This is because on one hand the OBIN indicator is based on studies from 2010-2012 and the penetration of the systems is exponential in some cases, on the other hand the value of off-grid systems is not homogenous across the places. This said, those corrective factors will just help grasp more precisely the real potential value of the market, which will be more interesting for pure pessimistic business people, they might not change very much the ranking. Thank you for the OBIN ! A yearly update will be necessary.

Comment by Matthew Matimbwi on February 26, 2014

Dear Sun-Connect,

in order to use the available opportunities of mini grid technologies, the enabling environment needs to be advocated. Not all African leaders are aware of the "how" though they do know the problem.

Eng. Matthew Matimbwi