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Returning in-person Indaba to host Africa energy discourse

CONTINENTAL CAPABILITIES Access to clean energy and the ability to harness and distribute power is critical for African leaders to adopt to encourage growth and stability across Africa

SUPPORTING INDEPENDENCE Without energy independence and sustainable means of powering local grids, even the most robust economies can be challenged or crippled by geo-political conflicts

VITAL DISCOURSE The AEI will gather high-profile experts from all fields to discuss solutions that integrate Africa’s vast energy resources

10th February 2023

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer


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The fifteenth edition of the Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) – which will be hosted from March 7 to 9 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, in the Western Cape – will be hosted as a fully physical event for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and aims to “bring people together to network, engage and learn”.

Since the early stages of the pandemic, it was necessary for the company to “think outside the box and challenge the norms” to ensure that Siyenza could continue facilitating progress and collaboration in the energy sector, says event organiser Siyenza Management MD Liz Hart.

“Returning to a fully physical in-person event has been well received by the market place.”

Hart adds that the previous AEI, hosted last year, was a success, as attendees could participate virtually or in-person.

This hybrid functionality enabled exhibitors to promote their companies to business counterparts, investors, buyers and governments globally.

Making this option available to stakeholders has positioned the AEI as a premier event with an extensive global audience, as the AEI has become “a hotbed” for new ideas and business deals.

“Our goal in 2023 is to streamline the physical element further and ensure that each touchpoint delivers even more value to participants. There are significant advantages to attending in person, as this will offer the opportunity to test products and services, make more personal connections and benefit from an immersive experience,” adds Hart.

AEI 2023

This year’s event will include new and returning features, confirms Hart.

The leadership dialogues – in the form of the Indaba Energy Leaders Dialogue and the CEO Roundtables – will return, facilitating discussion of key challenges facing African energy leaders.

The AEI will again also delve into the electric vehicle (EV) market with a side event conference.

“The EV industry will have a prominent platform at the event, owing to the increased demand for eco-conscious transport. This may be of particular interest to African nations, such as South Africa, which exports almost 64% of its manufactured vehicles to global markets”.

An investment hub will also be hosted again, during which African countries will pitch their projects to an audience eager to invest and become involved in energy developments in Africa.

Given the impact of loadshedding, Hart points out that this year additional focus will be given to energy solutions in the exhibition hall.

A new feature to the exhibition floor will be the Solar Africa exhibition, which will showcase solutions.

Siyenza also expects increased growth from industries attending the event to look for energy solutions to mitigate the impact of loadshedding.

As the conveyors of the Manufacturing Indaba, Siyenza will invite manufacturers to the event so that they can actively source and buy solutions to help their businesses.

Hart stresses that a significant portion of this year’s attendees will consist of decision-makers and leaders in the public and private sectors. Representation of guests from the renewable- energy sector is also expected to be high degree.

Currently, the event features more than 4 000 registered participants from more than 37 African countries.

There are also more than 100 exhibitor stands and a dedicated business-to-business Connect Programme, she adds.

Solving Energy Challenges

Hart says there are many schools of thought in terms of solving Africa’s energy challenges, and that progress can occur only when space is created for constructive debate.

The AEI will gather high-profile experts from all fields to discuss solutions that integrate Africa’s vast energy resources to speed up the roll-out of a sustainable power grid in a manner that is environment friendly and viable for investors.

This includes coal, oil, gas, hydropower, solar, wind and hydrogen sources.

“The 2023 AEI will focus on the topic of building and expanding a uniquely African energy infrastructure and the business opportunities this presents. Delegates can learn more about disruptive business models and risks, and what changes will occur, owing to the impact of Industry 4.0 in the energy sector. We offer an incubator for business-led ideation, with the opportunity to explore and experience the latest in energy and electrification technology”.

Further, she points out that recently, global events have exposed vulnerabilities in even the most infrastructurally advanced economies.

“Without a secure path to energy resources, all industries and supply chains feel the strain. Coupled with the added concern of an impending climate crisis, access to renewable energy makes sense for everyone.”

Hart argues that even countries with an abundance of gas and oil resources can monopolise distribution channels when diplomatic tensions arise, with the “most vulnerable in society” suffering from the impact of steep price hikes and knock-on inflation.

“The theme for this year ‘The Business of Energy – Africa Beckons’ highlights Africa's role as a place where many global objectives around sustainability and ethical business practices can take root. Economic prosperity throughout the continent can only occur, however, once energy poverty is effectively addressed, which is why Africa's Energy Pools will be a critical topic of discussion at the 2023 AEI,” she concludes.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features


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