Despite two decades of steady economic growth and significant foreign direct investment in Africa, the efforts to reduce energy poverty on the continent have been undermined by corruption that has resulted in increasing power shortages, restricted access to electricity, and dependence on traditional fossil-fuel energy sources. But there are several companies that are busy working to delivery hybrid energy solutions that are starting to make a difference.
Africa currently has a substantial energy deficit, which is a major obstacle to its growth and development. Forty-three percent of Africans, which is around 560 million people in Africa, have no access to electricity at all. But some companies are working hard to close the energy access gap and ensure access to affordable, reliable, thermal and renewable solutions for all companies in Africa. Vivo Energy, Cross Boundary Energy, and USP&E are three such firms whose goals closely align with the Power Africa goal to “Add more than 30,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new homes and business connections”. This is a daunting task for African governments given the massive energy deficit. But private companies are working at speed to solve for hybrid power and making significant headway in this regard.
AFRICAN COUNTRIES WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
USP&E CEO and Founder, in Sandton, South Africa, recently stated: “Access to electricity means access to opportunity and the chance for Africa to reach its economic potential. In this way, Africa is the continent of opportunity for the social-minded energy investor. There is ample choice for the discerning entrepreneur in the energy vertical of remote markets. While Africa offers vast natural energy resources ranging from coal, gas, hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal, the stage is set now for rapid growth across the continent in new renewable hybrid power station projects.”
With an increasing number of urbanizing youth and above-average growth rates in cities such as Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi, Africa’s middle classes are ready to exercise their buying power. Almost two-thirds of the continent is still in virtual darkness, and so many 21st century opportunities have remained out of reach. Indeed hundreds of millions of people simply do not have the power to enjoy the basic activities that will improve their living standards. In this way, modern healthcare, education, commerce, and the technological innovation associated with the 4th wave industrial revolution that the rest of the planet enjoys, is restricted across Africa .
With South African youth unemployment exceeding 46.3% (ages 15-34), young people account for more than 59.5% of the overall unemployment in South Africa. To put this in perspective, 46.3% of the youth accounts for 3.3 million persons at age 15-24 alone.
Not only has USP&E been combating the energy poverty within Africa by supplying reliable, efficient, thermal, and renewable energy, but USP&E has also continued to give more opportunities to the surrounding communities by running a fellowship training program for the youth called “Beyond Entrepreneurship X” (or “BEx” for short). This training program is free for 10 selected pupils to learn about business management and entrepreneurship in the energy sector.
CEO of USP&E Will Gruver says “Empowering the youth of today by teaching hands-on entrepreneurship and leadership skills is critical for the growth of our great nation. BEx is designed as an intense mentorship and training program where we lead by example and train our Fellows on how to solve problems, deal ethically, create jobs, and build our great country. Young minds should have access to resources to transform their consciousness through their beliefs, values, and attitudes. Then only can we believe in making South Africa shine, even in times of adversity”
Now more than ever it is imperative that the market players across Africa truly give back and think outside the box in order to identify and train the next generation of leaders and innovators. In the future years we will look to companies like USP&E to see how they will provide energy to create value in Africa. USP&E makes it evident that they live by their moto “Harnessing Energy to Create Value”.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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