Whilst Africa’s boom of a decade ago, when it was hailed as the new frontier, may be struggling to hold its place in the spotlight due to global conditions and their effect on emerging economies – Africa is still coming off of a low base economically and has huge potential.
This potential can be seen to be constrained by energy supply issues or the lack of energy in itself can be seen as BIG BUSINESS – either way, Africa needs an Energy plan for more consistent supply at better rates.
This is no surprise with Eskoms recent electricity hikes, which are expected to continue and more recently Zambia’s state power utility Zecso Ltd applying to more than double electricity costs for all consumers other than the mining industry.
According to the declaration from the SA International Renewable Energy Conference, by 2030, half of all electricity in eastern and southern Africa could come from clean, indigenous, cost effective renewable energy.
“While growing African energy economies, we need to ensure localization of supply chains, not only for the supply of equipment and plant but also the maintenance and operation of facilities” says the declaration.
This will provide new business opportunities within the value chain of a new industry, from the technology holders and traders in electricity to maintenance, skills development, uniforms, catering etc etc
Rural and Urban demands can best be met with a diverse technology mix that takes full advantage of sub-Saharan Africa’s exceptional and sustainable solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower resources” it states.
Add the gas plans for Africa which were highlighted in my previous blog on McKinsey Global Institute, South Africa’s Big Five: Bold Priorities for Inclusive Growth and the increasing attention gas is having in the news and in discussions. Transnet is said to be on track in terms of planning for gas imports with Mark Gregg-Mac Donald, Transnet group executive for planning and strategy, “We are preparing South Africa’s port system to ensure cost effective, efficient, safe and environmentally responsible facilities for gas imports, storage and transmission.”
So, my observation is that South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Africa are gearing to supply one of the fundamental catalysts to growth for any nation – Energy – the next 15 years will show growth for those who align to the sector and are able to identify players in the industry early on.
It will mean gearing for growth, understanding the market, the value chain, its players, timing and having potential access to finance when the time is right.