Conference hopes to catalyse African energy revolution

17th February 2017 By: Nadine James - Features Deputy Editor

Conference hopes to catalyse African energy revolution

BOOSTING ENERGY The Africa Energy Indaba brings together politicians and energy luminaries to envision and catalyse decisions that will enhance access to energy

The 2017 Africa Energy Indaba will enable African energy sector stakeholders to evaluate opportunities and the means to pursue them that could unlock the continent’s energy potential and spark something of an energy revolution, says Indaba organising company Siyenza.

“The African continent has the necessary mineral resources, climate and geology to meet its energy requirements. However, in many of its countries, there is a lack of funding, institutional will or technical skill to assist in developing the energy sector,” says Siyenza MD Liz Hart.

The Africa Energy Indaba attempts to address this lack by connecting people and rainmakers who can boost sector development on a regional scale. “We bring together politicians and energy luminaries to envision, collaborate and then catalyse the decisions that will unlock and unblock access to energy, and therefore enable growth and prosperity.”

Without access to energy, Africa’s growth will be stifled and, as such, investing in energy solutions for the continent is “mandatory and absolutely necessary”, Hart notes. Given Africa’s growing population and increased demand for energy, the conference will provide project-focused energy sessions for business development, welcoming African energy Ministers and utility managers, pioneering energy project developers, product providers, EPC contractors, investors, financiers and multilateral agencies to outline the role of renewable energy in Africa’s economic growth strategy and explore unique project development opportunities across the continent. This will ultimately drive economic prosperity, she adds.

Further, Hart highlights that, in spite of the continent having faced recent economic hardships, and in light of those still to come, businesses should recognise the need for finding energy solutions that do not make them dependent on a government-run power source as well as implementing renewable- and cleaner-energy solutions to ensure a more sustainable future.

The indaba also aims to further and close several energy deals. This is likely to be achieved through the country focus sessions, and the country investment prospectus, which relates to high-priority renewable-energy projects in Africa.

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Hart notes that the Africa Energy Indaba consistently launches new and innovative aspects. “The event has maintained its stature, owing to the quality of content and invited speakers. Much research goes into the development of the conference content and topic discussions, which ensures the event’s relevancy.”

The Africa Utility Forum will be launched at this year’s event. Hart explains that the private sector is looking for energy project opportunities and, often, the custodians of these opportunities are African State-owned power utilities. “The indaba will host an afternoon session, in partnership with market consultants Africa House, to invite representatives from these utilities to discuss opportunities across Africa for private- sector participation, investment and financing.”

The event will also host its first African Youth Energy Innovator Showcase, providing an opportunity for young innovators to be noticed by key stakeholders in the public and private energy sectors through a special showcase at the exhibition. “We are trying to create opportunities for youth innovators to find possible investors and partners to help further their innovations. The focus is on African youth who are inspiring innovation in the energy sector and improving African lives.”

Also, as mentioned, the focused session on African renewable projects will likely result in an effort to speed up project delivery to ensure access through a programme known as SE4All. Eleven African countries will be ready to present their Investment Prospectus of new energy projects available.

“We are really excited about the 2017 event as we have a solid, established foundation for the two-day conference, with a format that assists interaction between delegates and those on the podium and in the panels,” she points out.

Since 2009, the Africa Energy Indaba has shown year-on-year growth, and its partnership with the World Energy Council has grown its international reach through global company participation.

Hart says the side events – the Africa Gas Forum, the Women in Energy conference, the Nuclear Forum, and the IPP & PPA Conference – have “good momentum” and offer excellence in their respective fields.

“Our exhibition, which is very focused on innovation and renewable-energy solutions this year, will provide an exciting space for the energy representative to visit,” she concludes.