Infographic: Africa’s Huge Solar Power Potential

COP28 brought the world together to take joint actions to address the risk of global climate change, promote the global energy transition, and ensure energy security. For the past two weeks, energy issues such as formulating emission reduction programmes and increasing the use of renewable energy are in the focus of discussion. It is exciting to see that at least 123 countries joining the pledge to triple the world’s installed renewable energy generation capacity by 2030, with African countries such as South Africa among the countries already on board.

However, according to the data released in 2023 by Global Energy Monitor, current operating capacity of large utility-scale solar power in Africa is only 9478 megawatts (or, 9.4 gigawatts). This is only 1.7% of the global deployment of solar capacity. In comparison, for instance, China – a third the size of Africa, has close to 400GW of solar capacity, and Japan, 100 times smaller than Africa, has close to 80GW capacity. The UK – a little smaller than Japan – has 15GW capacity of solar, still more than the entire African continent.

In contrast, Africa as a continent – and indeed, most African countries – have a greater PV practical potential (4.51 kWh/kWp/day) than China (3.88 kWh/kWp/day), Japan, the UK, and the Global average (4.19 kWh/kWp/day).

Therefore, Africa is – in principle – the best frontier to develop more solar power energy.

So what is holding back solar from being deployed on the continent faster than in other regions? A lack of Finance? Africa Risk premiums? Our view, is it’s a combination of all.  And if the disparity is not addressed – for example through significant support to African countries to deploy the renewables targets – the new global target may serve to exacerbate the existing disparities.

Our infographic takes a closer look at the solar power landscape across diverse African countries and regions, showcasing the potential of solar power on the continent and illustrating the pivotal role of this source of clean energy in the global agenda.

Which parts of Africa exhibit the highest potential for solar power, and which countries on the continent are poised to experience more advancements in solar power capacity? Our data-driven infographic below answers these questions and more.

Average practical potential: Concerning the long-term photovoltaic power output, Northern and Southern African region have the greatest practical potential, while Central Africa ranks last. Namibia, Egypt, Lesotho, Libya, and Botswana are the top five countries in terms of average practical potential.

The operating solar farms: Northern Africa and Southern Africa have a clear lead in the operation of solar farm capacity. South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Senegal are the top five countries concerning operating solar farm capacity.

The prospective capacity of solar farms: In terms of generation capacity, Northern Africa and Southern Africa are still top ranked. Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia, and Algeria are the five countries with the largest improvement in solar farm capacity.

Check out the infographic below for more findings.


To find out how Development Reimagined can support you, your organisation, or Government, please email the team at

Special thanks go to Lingqi Deng, Yunong Wu, Yike Fu for their work on the graphics and for collecting/analysing the underlying data and this accompanying article.

The data was collated primarily from a range of sources, including the Global Energy Monitor and World Bank data.

If you spot any gaps or have any enquiries, please send your feedback to us at, and we will aim to respond ASAP.

December 2023

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