To assist women in being successful renewable- energy entrepreneurs, the African Energy Sector: Scope and Opportunity discussion topic at this year’s Women in Energy Conference will focus on the entrepreneurial opportunities in the energy sector and how women can maximise their participation.
“The conference seeks to highlight the issues that impact on women, particularly in the energy sector, taking into consideration that the sector is still male-dominated, says energy solution provider Matleng Energy Solutions executive chairperson Nelisiwe Magubane.
She explains that the conference also aims to profile women leaders, managers and executives in the energy sector, and will showcase the cutting-edge solutions for a changing energy landscape, with special emphasis on Africa. The conference will also provide insights and opportunities for career development and entrepreneurship for women who want to participate in the energy sector.
Matleng Energy Solutions will also sponsor the session, during which the role of off-grid and mini grids for rural electrification will be discussed, with Magubane participating on the panel regarding lessons learnt in solution provision, as well as how off-grid, mini grid and smart grid solutions can accelerate access to energy for household needs and economic development.
She cites an example in sub- Saharan Africa, where women are tasked with energy-provision tasks through gathering biomass (by burning organic materials), which is the main source of energy in rural areas. Aside from biomass use being time-consuming, the process also impacts on health and carries other safety risks.
“Women need sustainable energy projects and programmes to reduce dependence on biomass, as well as to address other human energy needs, such as pumping for drinking water, food processing and transport.”
Magubane avers that it is, therefore, necessary to lighten this burden, while creating entrepreneurial opportunities for women in the sector.
Energy Deputy Minister Thembisile Majola will deliver the Ministerial address at the conference, with National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa head Ndivhuho Raphulu expected to speak on ‘How do men perceive women in the energy sector? A perspective from men in the African energy sector’ as a panel participant.
Mining company Exxaro Resources energy business development manager Thomas Garner and Uganda-based tax attorneys Ligomarc Advocates managing partner Kabiito Karamagi are also set to join the panel.
Joining Magubane in ‘African Energy Sector: Business Scope & Opportunity’ discussion will be World Energy Council (WEC) vice-chairperson Dr Elham Ibrahim, engineering, energy and construction firm Strauss Energy CEO Charity Wanjiku, and United Nations Industrial Development Organization senior energy policy and implementation adviser Val Geen.
Discussing ‘Women who inspire us: Guidance from C-Suite Energy Executives’ will be investment company Peotona Investments executive director Dolly Mokgatle, financial services group Standard Bank Group nonexecutive director Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Ugandan energy distributor Umeme chief operations officer and executive director Florence Nsubuga, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority CEO Gloria Magombo, as well as social enterprise Global Cycle Solutions founder and CEO Jodie Wu.
The conference will be held alongside the Africa Energy Indaba conference and exhibition event on February 20 and 21 at the Sandton Convention Centre.