Through innovation in the energy sphere, Africa is slowly starting to overcome historical blockages that have prevented the continent from achieving economic growth and creating sustainable jobs, according to energy consultancy Africa House director Duncan Bonnett.
Speaking at a PowerGen and DistribuTECH breakfast in Sandton on Thursday, Bonnett noted that such blockages as a lack of urbanisation masterplans in cities, a lack of finance and market access, a lack of reliable power and transport utilities in the continent’s industrial sectors, and a lack of finance and ancillary infrastructure in the information and communication technology, telecommunications and power sectors, still held back many countries on the continent.
He added, however, that the continent could look forward to continued massive infrastructure spend, and highlighted that, over the next ten years, it was set to grow by 10% a year, or roughly $180-billion by 2025.
Bonnett said he believed that Nigeria and South Africa would dominate the infrastructure market, but noted that countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania were also “looking good”.
Overall infrastructure spend in Nigeria is expected to grow from $23-billion to $77-billion by 2025. “A more investor-friendly environment towards oil investment is also likely to boost this projection further,” stated Bonnett.
In South Africa, this figure is set to reach $60-billion.
This, Bonnett explained, is where the electricity sector and its providers would come into play. However, he said that companies needed to work on a local presence.
“Companies prepared to make the necessary commitment to these developments will be best placed to take advantage of them through their proximity, partnerships and position as local players.
“The time is ripe for South Africa-based companies to adopt a new way of interacting with the region,” he added, stating that these companies needed to develop local skills across the oil and gas, mining and power value chain.
Meanwhile, PowerGen and DistribuTECH Africa have called for the submissions of abstracts for its 2018 conference.
The advisory board has opened submissions for topics concerning the electricity sector in all parts of sub-Saharan Africa, inclusive of electricity industry strategy, fossil fuel-based generation, nuclear power, renewable energy and power delivery.
The deadline for submissions is January 8, 2018.
PowerGen and DistribuTECH Africa 2018, which had over 3 000 attendees and 75 exhibitors in 2017, will take place from July 17 to July 18, in Johannesburg, next year.