Table of Contents
ISRN Renewable Energy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 132606, 15 pages
Review Article

Potential of Small-Scale Hydropower for Electricity Generation in Sub-Saharan Africa

1Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Dar es Salaam, P.O. Box 35091, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
2Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Received 17 May 2012; Accepted 12 June 2012

Academic Editors: B. Chen and J. Kaldellis

Copyright © 2012 Chiyembekezo S. Kaunda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The importance of renewable energy such as small hydropower for sustainable power generation in relation to its capacity to contribute towards alleviating acute shortage of rural electricity supply in the sub-Saharan African region has been discussed. A relatively comprehensive small hydropower technology review has been presented. Rural electricity supply scenario in the region has been presented and, in general, the region has very low electricity access levels coupled with various challenges. Small hydropower technology has been discussed as one of the promising decentralised power generation system for rural electricity supply in the region. Despite challenges in data acquisition, this paper has shown that the SSA has significant hydropower resources, but the level of installation is very low. Challenges hampering SHP technology development in the region have been identified and discussed, such as those concerning technology, climate change, finance, and policy. This is basically a paper where the authors consulted a wide range of literature including journals, conference proceedings, and reports as well as expert knowledge in the area. It is hoped that this paper contributes to the information base on SHP technology which is quite lacking in the region.