The requirement for increased investment in electrical energy infrastructure in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) region is contextualised. Background on the SAPP is provided for reference. A brief assessment of historical capacity adequacy in the SAPP region shows historically sustained levels of inadequacy as well as distinctive investment cycles primarily as a result of administratively determined generation capacity investments within each member country. The introduction of an appropriately designed capacity mechanism is proposed for SAPP to facilitate system adequacy and incentivise long-term capacity investment. Highlights • Increased investment in electrical energy infrastructure in the SAPP region is needed to enable increased electricity access and economic growth. • The SAPP region has exhibited historical sustained system inadequacy and distinctive investment cycles. • Competitive electricity trade is increasing and displacing bilateral contacts. • An appropriately designed capacity mechanism for SAPP could facilitate system adequacy and incentivise long-term capacity investment.