KAMPALA, UGANDA – African governments wishing to attract private sector money to pay for new badly needed power projects are expected to send representatives for the Africa Energy Forum scheduled for London on June 22nd.
“Being in London, the world’s finance capital, will enable Africa’s growing number of power developers to showcase their businesses to decision makers of the world’s most prolific investment organisations from around the globe,” Shiddika Mohamed, the Group Director of EnergyNet Limited and main organisers of the talks said last week.
The Africa Energy Forum which is the annual global investment meeting for Africa’s power, energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors.
The event is expected to bring together 1,000 investors, 500 public sector stakeholders, 300 technology providers, 270 developers and representatives from 70 countries.
According to a company statement, “The decision to move the forum to the UK this year, was taken to capitalise on the investment potential of the UK and promote the strong trade relationship between the UK and Africa’.
The last three forums were held in Dubai in 2015, Istanbul (2014) and Barcelona (2013).
The African Development Bank (AfBD) says the entire installed generation capacity of Africa’s 48 sub-Saharan countries is just 68 gigawatts, no more than Spain’s.
As much as one-quarter of that capacity is unavailable because of aging plants and poor maintenance.
More than 645 million people in sub-Saharan Africa — roughly 70% of the region’s population — do not have access to electricity. If current trends continue, fewer than 40% of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050.
This lack of adequate power supplies continues to be a major deterent for investment. Per capita consumption of electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) averages only 124 kilowatt-hours a year and is falling. The rate of consumption is barely one percent of that in high-income countries. If entirely allocated to household lighting, it would hardly be enough to power one light bulb per person for six hours a day.
This year sees the Forum hosted in London for the first time – at the new London Intercontinental O2 overlooking the skyscrapers of the Canary Wharf and the famous River Thames.
New for this year will be the Growing Economies Energy Forum (GEEF), running alongside the Africa Energy Forum. GEEF will host a day of open discussions between the governments and private sector from new energy markets such as Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar and Peru, as these growing economies open up for international investment following political and economic developments.
EnergyNet will also host a typically English opening night pub quiz party on the evening of 21st June featuring some legendary British culture and food, allowing participants to network in a fun, laid back environment before the formal opening on the 22nd.
Speaking in Washington last month, Power Africa coordinator Andrew Herscowitz (a United States government initiative) said: “There is absolutely no reason the entire continent can’t be lit up because there is the money, the technology and the desire to make it happen. People have to be more forward thinking, forward leaning and have competition to bring costs down.’