Africa Energy Forum: Off The Grid

March 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

To find out more about Off the Grid Energy, view the "Power Beyond the Grid" session from the Africa Energy Forum 2016



Africa’s continuing energy demands are clear for all to see. Whilst conferences such as the Africa Energy Forum seek long-term solutions in the guise of financing for large scale power projects, in the interim many on the continent must rely on off grid technologies for access to electricity.

Off The Grid Club (OTGC) Explained

EnergyNet is committed to championing the importance of off-grid solutions for the continent. This year at the Africa Energy Forum in Copenhagen, we will be celebrating the one year anniversary of the launch of the Off the Grid Club - EnergyNet’s business accelerator and networking hub for the Rural Energy Access community now with the support of over 45 members. OTGC is a membership programme developed to provide a networking platform for off grid technology providers, financiers and regional leaders working in Africa’s off grid energy space.


The Off the Grid Club will act as a business accelerator specifically for commercial businesses and proven technologies, putting them immediately in front of our network of community leaders, entrepreneurs, international investors and proven consultants. The programme will provide a platform for members to form partnerships, giving them the opportunity to scale up their products and bring them to market more quickly. 


The Club will have a particular focus on social development through empowerment of female entrepreneurs, and projects that stimulate and enable further commerce in their communities. The most innovative members of the Club will be able to apply for an Investment Award, presented by the Founding Members on behalf of EnergyNet’s ‘Not Just Talking Fund for Energy Access.’



Source: International Energy Agency - Energy Access Outlook 2017

The number of people without access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa stopped increasing in 2013 and has since declined, led by strong efforts in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania. Since 2012, the pace of electrification has nearly tripled relative to the rate between 2000 and 2012. East Africa in particular has made significant progress; the number of people without access has declined by 14% since 2012. Despite this turn-around, 590 million people – roughly 57% of the population – remain without access in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the largest concentration of people in the world without electricity access as efforts have often struggled to keep pace with population growth. 


Over 80% of those without electricity live in rural areas, where the electrification rate is less than 25%, compared with 71% in urban areas. Grid expansion remains the primary means of bringing about electrification in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly tapping into its renewable energy potential, especially hydropower, to provide power, resulting in an accelerated rate of the number of people gaining access from renewable sources. Between 2012 and 2015, around 18 million people gained access from renewables-based power each year, particularly large-scale hydropower and geothermal (mainly in Kenya), a considerable increase from the 3.5 million people who gained access from renewables each year on average from 2000 to 2012 . 

Decentralised systems, while small in share now, are also growing, particularly in areas not yet reached or too expensive to electrify by grid connections. In 2016, an estimated 2 million people gained access through solar home systems, a share which is expected to increase. Moreover, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa in particular has been a promising test-bed for the convergence of decentralised systems, digital mobile-enabled platforms and mobile money – a trend which may accelerate the pace of progress in the years to come… Read the full report