Only these 3 African countries have highest share of gas power globally

Key highlights 

  • Only North African countries feature in the ranking of top 10 countries with the highest share of gas power in the world 
  • Sub-Saharan African countries are energy poor and need to increase electrification rates in the short to medium term. 
  • The energy landscape in Africa is complex and diverse, with many countries facing challenges but also many opportunities for growth and development. 

Only three African countries have the highest share of gas power in the world and none of them is in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the latest data contained in the 2023 Global Electricity Review released by the British think tank, Ember, the countries with the highest share of gas power in the world are:

  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • Bahrain
  • Oman
  • Algeria
  • Libya
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Singapore
  • Belarus

This ranking shows that sub-Saharan African countries are not exploring enough natural gas for power, especially given the fact that many countries in the region are still lacking electrification, which could be powered by natural gas.

In a recent meeting in Sapporo, Japan, G7 Energy Ministers advocated for a reduction in the use of natural gas as a fuel across the world. According to them, countries should only resort to natural gas if it helps to address potential market shortfalls provoked by the crisis, subject to clearly defined national circumstances.

Meanwhile, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina told attendees at a Berlin Energy Transition dialogue last month, that Africa accounts for 6% of global energy use and 3% of global electricity demand and is completely energy poor. He also highlighted the fact that Africa needs to connect 90 million people annually to electricity in the next eight years.

This scenario further amplifies the need for African countries (except for North Africa) to increase their gas-to-power capacity. In the Nigerian scenario, natural gas accounts for about 85% of the country’s total electricity. Also, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has established the Nigeria Gas Expansion Program (NGEP), which is a plan to transform Nigeria into a gas-enabled economy, targeting cooking, automobiles, industry and power.

More insights from the Ember Review

According to the review cited, gas generation has increased by four percentage points since 2000 to account for 22% of global electricity in 2022. Other fossil fuels fell from 7.8% of generation to 3% over the same period. The review also stated that the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America accounted for 39% of the growth in global gas generation in the last decade (2012-2022).

This is because gas met most of the rise in electricity demand across the regions. However, wind and solar generation are meeting more electricity demand growth in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

What you should know

Gas, after coal, is the second largest contributor to emissions from the power sector. In the mid-term, it has a role in helping with the power system flexibility to accommodate a large influx of wind and solar.

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