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Diesel genset demand is holding firm as Africa looks to a dependable energy supply from a proven, traditional technology

Chart 1African imports of diesel generators. (Image source: PowerGen Pages)

In 2022, as in other recent years, there is an endless stream of news focusing on renewable energy and innovative ways to generate electricity, both in Africa and worldwide. Yet, amongst this chorus, the diesel generator, or genset, remains an integral part of Africa’s energy mix, just as it has done for many decades. 

Indeed, the market is retaining its steady growth given that a huge number of inhabitants and organisations, both small and large, continue to rely on this ever-dependable piece of equipment for their energy requirements. 

That ranges from small households, health clinics and hospitals, to mining sites and oil platforms. For operations and activities that require dependable ‘without fail’ electricity, then it’s still hard to beat the traditional genset, especially in a region with such patchy, erratic grid-based power. 

Imports of diesel generators increased by 12% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter of last year. Moreover, they are now only 3% lower than the pre-crisis level (first quarter of 2019), reflecting a sustained pick up since the chaos wrought by Covid shutdowns.

In addition, gensets now being manufactured by leading brands in this niche – the likes of Kohler SDMO, Caterpillar and Cummins, among others – are a huge leap in comparison to the machines of yesteryear. 

Read the full report in the latest issue of African Review here