Somalia - Country Commercial Guide
Energy and Electricity
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In 2020, the World Bank estimated at least 49 percent of the population had access to electricity.  While variations exist between rural and urban areas, in 2023 the Somali Household Budget survey estimated more than half of the population (61.9 percent) had access to electricity, demonstrating progress on the expansion of electricity services in the country.  There are significant differences in electricity access between places of residence, as most urban dwellers have access to electricity (80.1 percent) while only about a third of rural residents (39.4 percent) have access.  Fewer than 9 percent of nomads or migratory herders have access to reliable electricity supplies.

After the collapse of the government in 1990s, much of the country’s national power infrastructure was destroyed.  As the country emerges from conflict, current generation capacity is privately owned and distributed through microgrids.  There is no national power grid.  Diesel generators are the primary source of electricity.  Most generators and distribution equipment are old and inefficient, resulting in a low-quality electricity supply.  Regarding costs per kilowatt-hour of electricity, Somalia has one of the highest unit prices in Africa.  Somalia has higher tariffs than neighboring countries Kenya and Ethiopia, ranging from 50-125 cents/kWh compared to 0.15 cents/kWh in Kenya and 0.6 cents/kWh in Ethiopia.

Somalia’s energy sector is considered promising for growth and investment.  Small and medium-sized private sector companies are the main providers of electricity generation and distribution, primarily running diesel powered systems through off-grid networks.  Private Somali companies generate approximately 128MW; most companies generate and distribute electricity independently. The Federal Government of Somalia has recently introduced electricity-related standards and regulations to improve safety and service delivery.  A recently passed electricity bill (2023) has not yet been implemented.  The primary electricity producers are Benadir Energy Company (BECO) mainly in Mogadishu and southern parts of the country, NECSOM (Puntland), and SOMPOWER (Hargeisa).  Despite these investments, the provision of electricity in Somalia faces numerous challenges, such as a lack of comprehensive regulations, standards, and quality controls; weak government enforcement and regulation; limited technical skills and workforce; and limited financial and capital investment for more significant electricity generation, transmission, and distribution.

Domestic use of energy: Most Somali households use fossil fuels such as charcoal and firewood for household cooking.  Charcoal (47.9 percent) and firewood (41.3 percent) are the two energy sources most used for cooking, while gas or electricity are only minimally used.  Urban areas stand out for using charcoal (60.6 percent) while other residence types rely more often on firewood (55.8 percent for rural households and 94.3 percent for nomadic households) according to the Somali Government Integrated Household Budget Survey.  There are private sector initiatives to introduce cylinder-based Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for domestic use in major cities.  Natural gas is typically imported and repackaged in gas cylinders in major cities and towns such as Mogadishu, Hargeisa, and Garowe.  LPG gas is imported from Qatar, UAE, and Turkey through specialized vessels and packaged and distributed through retailers in gas cylinders, typically packed in 6kgs and 13kgs for households, restaurants, and hotels.  The LPG sector has high potential for growth and expansion in the country, including the development of onshore offloading bays, distribution logistics, retail, and franchising.

Solar Energy: Somalia has high renewable energy potential.  Solar power could generate an excess of 2,000 kWh if the country reached its full capacity.  Recently there has been progress in developing solar energy systems in the country by private sector electricity companies.  They have begun to diversify energy sources, building small to medium-sized solar energy systems interfaced with the regular diesel power systems.  For example, Benadir Energy Company (BECO)—Somalia’s largest electric utility and the only provider in Mogadishu—developed a 10MW solar farm outside Mogadishu and connected to its power generation and transmission.  In addition, several other companies exist that provide off-grid solar energy solutions, including Blue Sky, Solargen, Delta, and others.  Financing represents the biggest obstacle to Somalia realizing its potential as a hub for renewable energy.

International development partners are providing support in the solar energy sector.  For example, Lighting Africa—an initiative affiliated with the World Bank and financed in part by Italy and the Netherlands—has conducted “an in-depth off-grid solar market assessment” in Somalia in a bid to improve the enabling environment for off-grid solar businesses, improve affordability, and protect consumers.  The bank recently launched, the Somali Electricity Access Project (SEAP) with estimated budget of $150 million to support Somalia energy expansion including solar energy, transmission, and cross-border energy transmission between Ethiopia and Somalia.

USAID Power Africa has a presence in Somalia, providing technical assistance to private energy companies.  Other donors such as the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Norway, and European Union have ongoing programs such as installing streetlights, developing off-grid rural energy solutions, and providing capacity development and regulation support to Somalia.  International donor financing offers an entry point for global and local investments in the Somalia electricity sector, including consulting services such as technical assistance, feasibility, assessments and design, and execution of energy solutions.

The international community recognizes the potential of solar and wind power in Somalia and the appetite and need for renewable energy.  U.S. investors may see business opportunities in strengthening the renewable energy industry from generation to distribution in the country.

Wind Energy: Studies suggest Somalia has high potential for onshore wind power and could generate between 30,000 to 45,000 MW.  A pre-conflict 1991 article in the scientific journal Solar Energy assessed that “the wind resource appears suitable for power production in 85 percent of the country.”  REVE, a Spanish magazine focused on wind power, added in 2019 that “Somalia has one of the highest combined wind power and solar energy potentials on the planet.”

Small-scale investments in wind power generation exist in the country.  For example, NECSOM—a Puntland-based electricity company—developed wind power connected to microgrids.  The plant, which has been operational since 2016 produces 3.5 MW of energy and is expected to be further extended with 450kW of wind energy, covering more than 25 percent of the city’s energy needs.  The plant was developed by an Italian company Elvi and commissioned by the Italian and French group Electro Power Systems (EPS).

Information Resources

Ministry of Energy and Water Resources

Corso Somalia Street
3rd floor, Mogadishu GPO Building
Bondhere District - Mogadishu, Somalia


Private Sector Network:

Somalia Green Energy Association