A serious lack of power supply and infrastructure is hindering the growth of many African economies, yet is providing a boom in business for diesel and gas generator companies, according to a new report.

Indeed, the authors of the study at business intelligence firm GlobalData predict that “if little is done to improve power networks across Africa, the continent could become the next major growth destination for international genset manufacturers”.

According to the report, Nigeria is the biggest African user of gensets. The market was worth $450m in 2011 and GlobalData predicts this will hit $950.7m by 2020 because of insufficient power generated by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and a transmission and distribution network that is in desperate need of an upgrade.

And GlobalData claims that the rapid rise in genset use will spread to other African countries: “As the reliability of electricity in many African countries is low, and the demand for power high, other nations, including South Africa, Egypt, Angola and Algeria, are also expected to display strong genset growth in the future.

“The telecom, manufacturing and commercial sectors of these countries are currently experiencing robust growth and increasing the need for continuous power.”