Most economies worldwide are facing an ever-deepening energy crisis. Recent global supply chain disruptions and geopolitical turmoil continue to drive up the cost of fuel, affecting every sector of society in every nation across the world.
Nowhere is this crisis more devastating and poignant than in Africa, where energy poverty has been a stumbling block to economic growth and development for decades. According to research conducted by the World Bank in 2021, nearly 800 million people live without access to electricity, with approximately 600 million of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. The financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic deepened this crisis, making essential electricity services unaffordable for 30 million more people, the majority located in Africa.
The deepening energy crisis in Africa is the most crucial challenge to overcome if the continent hopes to realise its potential as an economic force in world markets over the next 25 years. The destabilising effect of unreliable and unaffordable energy supply is felt by every sector of society, from the government to business, down to the household level. In South Africa, the deepening energy crisis and persistent load shedding have cost the economy between 8% and 10% in potential growth over the past few years, translating into in excess of R360 billion in lost GDP and about one million lost job opportunities, according to leading economists.
The urgency with which Africa needs to address the energy crisis is beyond dispute. However, the continent does not simply need more power but must also consider the demands of the global energy transition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. While many highly industrialised countries grapple with the need to re-invent the fossil-fuel-hungry infrastructures that have propped up their development over the past century, Africa is in a unique position to take the lead in industrialising using renewable energy sources from the ground up.
According to statistics provided by the African Development Bank, Africa’s untapped renewable energy potential is estimated at 350 GW for hydroelectric energy, 110 GW for wind energy, 15 GW for geothermal energy and 1,000 GW for solar. In addition, green hydrogen as a renewable energy source is set to be a game-changer in the global energy transition. Africa is an ideal market to develop and export power from green hydrogen, forever changing the co-dependent relationship the continent currently has with expensive fossil-fuel exporting economies. If this enormous reserve of renewables is exploited, its effect could potentially alter the economies of many African countries, making it a key priority of sustainable development.
This mandate is being taken up at the 15th Africa Energy Indaba, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 7th – 9th, 2023.
The three-day conference and exhibition will provide a platform for government leaders, policymakers, business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the power sector to discuss, debate and seek solutions to enable energy generation and distribution across Africa. A diverse group of luminaries and high-profile speakers will share their real-world insights about the changing energy landscape in Africa.
In addition, a rich programme of panel discussions and plenary sessions will seek to address what is needed to meet the growing need for energy access on the continent over the next 25 years. Experts will explore the latest developments in renewable energy sources, green energy projects, and on and off-grid energy technology currently under development on the continent and abroad. They will also unpack the policy, infrastructure, and skills development needed to realise an abundance of reliable, safe, and environmentally sustainable energy on the continent in the next 25 years.
The Africa Energy Indaba offers delegates and exhibitors from across the continent’s energy sector the opportunity to share knowledge, develop policy, network and build the relationships needed to unleash the economic potential of Africa in our lifetime.
To learn more and book your seat, visit: https://energyindaba.co.za/.