The eighth annual Africa Energy Indaba, held on 16-17 February, hosted almost 1 000 delegates who attended the Sandton conference, exhibition and various side events which are hosted during the Africa Energy Indaba week every year.
Various African energy ministers, including 50 global and continental energy luminaries, attended the in-depth workshops, panel discussions and private leaders’ dialogues in Johannesburg, South Africa, to decide and debate Africa’s energy future for the decades to come. The event was covered extensively in the African mainstream media, with front-page headlines deliberating how Africa can overcome its enormous challenges in ensuring access to energy for all Africans.
According to Brian Statham, steering committee chairperson of the Africa Energy Indaba, the key messages coming out of the 2016 Africa Energy Indaba were:
• Cross-border energy flows that come from multi-national energy facilities will be essential for the future growth and development of African countries.
• A commitment was made by regional leaders to make real progress with the ZiZaBoNa interconnector.
• The African Union has a vital co-ordinating role to play in ensuring energy access for all Africans.
• Governments must involve the private sector in planning and implementation, and in turn, the private sector must realise it has to have developmental goals in addition to pure commercial objectives.
Dr Christoph Frei, secretary-general of the World Energy Council, who also attended and actively participated in the Indaba, agreed with Statham and added his key outcomes from the 2016 event: “In the context of a weak global economy and low commodity prices, projects have to be phased in based on off-take from local demand, including from cities. Regional integration brings down capital requirements by up to 30% and improves energy security by combining supply schemes with complementary exposure to resilience challenges.”
This year’s premier African energy event included the inaugural Africa Gas Forum, the third annual IPP PPA Conference and the second Women in Energy Conference, the World Bank International Finance Corporation’s ESCO Conference and the Indaba Energy Leaders’ Dialogue.
In addition, the Africa Energy Indaba Week hosted:
• The second Ministerial Trilemma Roundtable, with visiting ministerial and senior government representation from Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burundi, Chad, DRC Congo, Lesotho, Nigeria, as well as other high-level energy officials from across Africa.
• The launch of the World Energy Council Shale Gas Report, hosted by Dr Christoph Frei, secretary-general of the World Energy Council.
• The launch of the World Bank Global Tracking Framework Report.
• The Independent Evaluation Group panel discussion with Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank country director for Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Africa Region.
• The European Union Energy Commission Electrifi Presentation breakfast.
• The Productivity SA IMD Report launch.
• The Low Carbon Transport South Africa Dialogue, hosted by UNIDO.
• The 23rd World Energy Council Congress cocktail reception, hosted by the Turkish Organising Committee.
• The World Energy Council Scenarios and Resources workshops.
• The SANEA Energy Dialogue.
The official side events were fully subscribed and have set the stage to expand the forums alongside the 2017 event. The feedback received was exceptionally positive.
The support of the partners, the World Energy Council, the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, the South African National Energy Association and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development, was invaluable in assisting the Africa Energy Indaba’s raison d’être: To secure energy for all Africans by Africans.
Work has already begun on the ninth annual Africa Energy Indaba, which will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, on 21-22 February 2017.