The 2015 Africa Energy Indaba took place on the 18th and 19th February at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, smashing its previous records and achieving in excess of 30% growth on the previous year’s delegate numbers.

Hundreds of delegates including several African energy ministers and energy experts from around the continent attended what has become Africa’s premier energy event. The event was also attended by senior officials from the World Energy Council to commemorate the start of the Council’s “Year of Africa” program.

“We are delighted by the growth of the Indaba and belive this demonstrates the energy sector’s acknowledgement relating to the quality of the content of the event and the value the event provides to the African Energy sector.” says Liz Hart, Managing Director of the Africa Energy Indaba.

Conference sessions were packed with delegates who jetted into Johannesburg to listen to the 130 speakers that included global energy luminaries that were part of the cutting edge program. The exhibition, which displayed the latest technologies providing energy alternatives, was buzzing with members of the public and visitors looking for solutions to load shedding.

High level delegates that attended the Energy Indaba and spoke at the event included the World Energy Council (WEC) chair, Madame Marie-José Nadeau and the WEC Secretary General, Christoph Frei. MEC for Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development, Ms Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, gave the welcome address and the Department of Energy’s Director General, Dr Wolsey Barnard, gave the opening keynote address on the Tuesday morning. Public and private sector officials were able to hear first-hand of the Department’s plans in shaping the next decade of energy that would afford all South Africans affordable, cleaner and equitable energy. It was a highlight having the former British Director General for Energy, Joan MacNaughton, who heads the WEC’s Trilemma Studies, address delegates on how to position Africa as a destination of choice for energy investment. Delegates were also addressed by speakers from Eskom and private sector companies prominent in the energy sector.

“This was the opportunity for Africans to tell the African story, to challenge and clarify misperceptions about the continent,” said Brian Statham, steering committee chair of the Africa Energy Indaba.

“People who don’t know Africa have often only heard bad news and that is the only story they have and remember about the continent. Africa Energy Indaba once again gave us an opportunity to showcase the many positive things happening; the opportunity to change people’s ideas about Africa,” added Statham.

Numerous pressing energy issues were tackled and debated within the various panel sessions and breakaway workshops that were held. Some of the most notable sessions included: “The vision for Africa’s critical infrastructure”, “Developing an appropriate mix of resources to deliver Africa’s economic potential”, “Making Africa the continent of choice for developmental resources and support”, “Power Africa: The Obama Initiative”, “Insights into unlocking finance for the development of energy projects in Africa”. There were also sessions on skills development, regional cooperation, the energy-water nexus, smart grid and energy transmission and sessions on energy technologies including bioenergy, geothermal energy, oil, gas and nuclear.

With strategic partnerships with the World Energy Council (WEC), the South African National Energy Association (SANEA) and the NEPAD Planning & Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and an exhibition partnership with the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development, the Africa Energy Indaba enjoys the highlights level of support of any African energy event. A number of side events were held including an IPP/PPA forum, an Electricity Resilience workshop and the first-ever Women in Energy conference.

The Africa Energy Indaba Women in Energy conference was opened by Ms Thembisile Majola, Deputy Minister in the Department of Energy, highlighted the important role women play on the continent, and the strides the Department is making in empowering women in the energy sector.

The 2016 Africa Energy Indaba will take place on the 16 – 17 February 2016 and promises to build on the success of the 2015 event.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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