Cameroon is the most populous nation of the Economic Community of Central African States and has a fast growing population. In Cameroon, electrical power is principally generated by hydroelectric and thermal power stations. Cameroon has achieved a nation-wide electrification rate of 63%. However, in rural areas, that benchmark drops to 21%.
Cameroon has the second largest hydropower potential in Africa after the Democratic Republic of Congo, with an estimated capacity of 23 GW, principally in the Sanaga basin, representing more than 103 TWh on yearly basis. An estimated 60% of the electricity generated in Cameroon is hydroelectric with the remaining 40% largely derived from thermal energy (oil and gas). Cameroon could have all year round electricity if hydropower resources were fully exploited, but so far only 5% or 721 MW of Cameroon’s hydropower potential has been harnessed. This supply mostly stems from the three main hydro power plants: Song Loulou (384MW developed by Salini Impregilo), Edéa (263MW) and Lagdo (72MW, developed by China International Water & Electric Corporation).
The potential for small Hydro Power installations (up to 1 MW) is estimated at 1,115 TWh, and is located mainly in the eastern and western regions of Cameroon. This potential however, is yet to be properly exploited. There are plans to install an additional 720 MW of hydropower capacity by 2020, and the government is working on implementing measures to facilitate the introduction of energy efficiency and off-grid renewable energy investments.