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d.light has a proven track record in the use of securitised finance to support its solar-powered household products in sub-Saharan Africa. (Image source: d.light)

d.light, a global provider of transformational household products and affordable finance for low-income households, has closed a new securitisation facility to scale-up its PayGo consumer finance offering to make solar-powered products available to low-income communities in select African countries

The new financing is being provided by African Frontier Capital, a social impact-focused asset management company, and will be used to purchase US$176mn of receivables in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. With this new agreement, the provider has now closed securitised financial with a total combined purchasing value of US$718mn since 2020.

According to the company, the multi-currency facility will enable access to reliable, renewable energy for an estimated six million people across the next three years. “This new facility is another landmark step in d.light’s mission to provide people with affordable energy that is also clean, safe and sustainable,” remarked d.light CEO Nedjip Tozun. “It lets us expand our reach so that millions of off-grid families across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda can experience the benefits of solar energy.

“Facilities like this make possible our pioneering PayGo consumer financing model with which we are able to offer solar home systems and high efficiency appliances to the people that need them most in a way that is affordable and sustainable.

Solar solutions for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria

“With this new facility, d.light has for the first time in its history receivables-based financing facilities in each of our PayGo markets - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria. These facilities allow d.light to remain consistently cash flow positive and remove the requirement for further external equity fundraising to fund our growth."

Eric De Moudt, AFC’s founder and CEO, added, “This milestone is a testament to how data-driven financial innovation can play an important role in bringing financial inclusion to the world’s most vulnerable communities, helping them to gain access to clean and modern energy and the ensuing social and economic benefits that come about as a result. We are grateful to d.light for its ongoing leadership in the off-grid solar sector and proud to partner with such a visionary company.”

Dietmar Siersdorfer speaking at Africa Energy Forum in Barcelona. (Image source: Siemens Energy)

Dietmar Siersdorfer, managing director of Siemens Energy Middle East & Africa, considers electrification, the need for natural gas, the focus on transmission and emerging digital solutions within Africa’s energy landscape

At the recently concluded Africa Energy Forum (aef) in Barcelona, Siersdorfer, opened a session exploring the continent’s energy landscape and how its resources are poised to take a central position in the global energy revolution.

In his address to the delegates, Siersdorfer’s excitement for his new role as leader of Siemens Energy in Africa was palpable, pointing out that the continent is the fastest growing energy market on the globe – forecast by the organisation to grow by 15% CAGR between 2023 and 2028 alone – and has a number of competitive advantages playing in its favour. The latter, Siersdorfer listed, including the abundant renewable resources available to African nations; a strategic geographical position that could enable it to become an exporter of electrons for neighbouring regions; the potential it holds for innovation (describing it as a “laboratory” where future technologies could be matured); and its accelerating energy demand (expected to surge by 60% between 2022 and 2030, according to the IEA). Moreover, the whole continent is responsible for a mere 1.4 giga tons of energy-related emissions per year, an astonishingly small contribution, even when compared to select single countries (China produces 10.8 giga tons per year).

To lay the groundwork for Africa to achieve its potential, Siersdorfer identified four points that he believed must be focused on: maintaining reliable power supply, making energy greener, embracing system complexity, and adopting digital solutions. To dig into these further, African Review spoke to the managing director at the conference in Barcelona.

Going green via gas

While Siersdorfer noted that the 1.5-degree threshold is probably out of our grasp now, he stressed we must still strive to limit global warming and ultimately achieve net zero. In this pursuit, the imperative of integrating green generation capacity within Africa (and the global) energy landscape is, in the modern day, well understood.

However, the managing director was quick to emphasise that with Africa responsible for such a minor proportion of global emissions, the need to minimise its environmental impact must be balanced against the dire need for providing reliable energy access to the vast population of African inhabitants who currently live without it.

For Siersdorfer, the way to steer this course is clear, and it resides in a resource categorised as a fossil fuel: natural gas. This definition, the managing director explained, has somewhat cooled global appetites of late, with some commentators suggesting a hard break from hydrocarbons is the path Africa should take. In the view of Siersdorfer, though, it is the right of less developed nations to exploit their natural resources in order to close the development gap – as many advanced countries have done before. As a reliable, plentiful, valuable and affordable energy source that has a far smaller climate footprint than its fossil fuel cousins, gas presents the perfect bridge in the transition to net zero, he surmised. Moreover, it is widely viewed as the frontrunner to hydrogen, with associated technology and infrastructure ready to adapt to a green hydrogen future should it be realised.

“Generally, Africa is embracing renewable technology but we should not underestimate that energy demand in Africa is huge (and growing),” commented Siersdorfer. “Many countries have gas available and it is therefore vital to take this resource into the equation when building sustainable energy systems. Currently, much of the continent is coal-dependent. About 70-80% of power generation in South Africa, for example, is provided by coal-fired power stations. If it was to switch immediately to gas, we predict the country would reduce CO2 emissions by 40%. Comprehensive utilisation of this resource would, therefore, massively limit emissions, form the foundation of energy systems that give people access to electricity, and build the base of industrial development.”

At this point, Siersdorfer retrieved an anecdote drawn from his extensive experience working within the Middle Eastern market. This region, despite being generally more developed than Africa, has not sought to jump straight to renewables but is, instead, choosing a path to net zero that is paved with gas-fired power stations. Perhaps the best demonstration of this policy can be seen in the US$1.5bn contract Siemens Energy has just signed in Saudi Arabia. This agreement will see the company supply key technologies for the forthcoming Taiba 2 and Qassim 2 combined-cycle power plants that will generate approximate 2GW of electricity each. Expected to be connected to the grid – in simple cycle mode – as early as 2026, they demonstrate the ability of such stations to provide rapid energy to meet growing demand while are also being a vital step in the country’s strategy to reach net zero by 2060.

A Siemens Energy worker attending to a piece of equipment.

This is a lesson Siersdorfer hopes African leaders will take on board as they continue to chart their own courses in the energy transition. “I would emphasise, here that it is no one size fits all of course – it is not all about renewables or gas. Country policymakers need to build transition maps that work for them, built on the resources available to them and that can be best used. This is one area Siemens Energy can help. We build country strategies and advise how to deliver energy systems of the future – specific to that environment – which encapsulate decarbonisation agendas.”

Grid modernisation

The emergence of renewables and the proliferation of energy sources will, almost certainly, lead to the growth of system complexity – a problem that proponents of a green future in Africa are striving to solve.

Indeed, grid infrastructure and the debate around transmission took centre stage at the conference in Barcelona, with delegates recognising that a traditional focus on power generation has left this aspect neglected and the need pressing. According to the IEA’s Financing Clean Energy in Africa, annual investment in grids here grew at only 5% between 2019 and 2022, with reliable and robust electricity grids remaining a missing piece of the puzzle. In the Sustainable Africa Scenario, grid investments must rise to US$50bn per year by 2030 ‘in order to finance the required expansion and modernisation of grids that the influx of renewables requires’.

“Fortunately, this is no longer a non-topic in Africa, although some ministers I speak to are still very much focused on generation,” Siersdorfer remarked. “The bottom line is: grids need more resilience in the future and they need to be more interconnected. They are the foundation of the new energy systems that need to be built for individual countries, especially for when they are looking to exchange electricity with their neighbours.”

Elsewhere, this message has been firmly understood, he explained, as countries such as Saudi Arabia are identifying the work they need to do and are now heavily investing. In doing so, they are sucking capacity from manufacturers of associated equipment and developers so that these services are becoming less available for use elsewhere.

Nigerian officials speaking to Siemens Energy personnel.

“As a manufacturer, we are upgrading our capacities everywhere in the world as we foresee an enormous growth in the grid market across the globe,” said Siersdorfer. In Nigeria, this has translated into action with the company working with the Federal Government in support of the Presidential Power Initiative. A drive dedicated to upgrading the country’s electricity network, it is aimed at providing power to Nigerians by bringing an additional 25GW of electricity online and to upgrade and expand the national grid to connect and boost supply. 

Dealing with data demand

This discussion around grid stability and reliable supply led Siersdorfer onto a topic that has dominated headlines in the recent past – the rise of the data centre market. Fuelled by an increase in connections for households and businesses alike, an increasingly urbanised and youthful population demanding access to the Internet through 3G, 4G and even 5G, and the surge of smartphone adoption, mobile data consumption in Africa is expected to increase by 40% each year until 2025, according to AIIM. To meet the exponential increase in data traffic, the continent’s digital infrastructure must be developed and an increase in capacity to 1,200MW by 2030 is required. To realise this and support the emerging digital economy, a surge in investment has been forthcoming, reaching US$2bn in 2020 and expected to reach US$5bn by 2026.

“Data centre operators need facilities up and running quickly, and they have the money to spend to do so,” Siersdorfer explained. “But, they need reliable power and a stable grid. Why, then, would they look to do develop a project in Togo or Tanzania – which could take seven years – when it could take three elsewhere and be more viable with greater energy security?

“The data centre market is a huge opportunity. If African nations are able to build resilient grids, backed by a mix of renewables and gas, then they could attract the likes of Amazon and Microsoft. If countries are willing to put in the work and invest in their grids, they can attract even greater attention from hyperscalers who can come and build business here.”

From Siemens Energy’s perspective, Siersdorfer was quick to add that the company has the equipment and expertise to provide everything a data centre requires throughout its life cycle – from integration solutions to bring power from the transmission grid to reliable and sustainable emergency backup power when energy is not available.

A clean slate for innovation

In building the energy infrastructure of the future, the managing director was also keen to point out that innovative, digital solutions could play a leading role in dealing with the complexity of their potential makeups.

As the company has made clear, optimising performance and maximising efficiency in today’s energy landscape is critical, and harnessing the power of digitalisation is crucial to do so. Data-driven control systems, advanced software and integration of artificial intelligence has the potential to enhance grid management and precision in predictability to improve load forecasting and more effectively balance supply and demand. While there is some apprehension around the emergence of AI within the energy sphere, none stems from Siersdorfer. “There is no need to fear it; there is a need to embrace it. AI it is still in its infancy but is starting to be used in many of our systems, I believe it will have a huge role in the future. More regulation around it is certainly required but when I look at our domain and the enormous potential it offers; it is a breath-taking opportunity.”

And this opportunity is not one exclusive of Africa. “The continent is in an interesting position where it can almost start afresh, right from the beginning. I see it is a laboratory for how we can conduct the energy transition from scattered systems into new, modern ones. AI will be at the forefront of this. In my mind, it is a unique and compelling chance for the African market and it will definitely be utilised in solutions that companies like Siemens Energy are providing.”

Certainly, Siemens Energy has positioned itself at the front of this technological development wave, and Siersdorfer pointed to the four innovation centres and huge R&D programme dedicated to interacting with customers, governments and beyond, and designing new solutions around their needs. This, the managing director concluded, is integral to the company’s core mission. “People ask me what our mission is. My answer is the same here as it is of any region: to energise society. I think this is a noble goal.”

Siemens Energy staff conducting training.

This article was sponsored by Siemens Energy. 

The generator set fitted with a Perkins 1103 is providing vital backup power at the St Patrick School in Uganda. (Image source: Perkins)

Global power provider, Perkins, and generator set manufacturer, Jubaili Bros, have partnered in order to provide vital backup power for a children’s charity in Uganda

The two organisations have come together to support the St. Patrick School near Mbarara. The institution is supported by the Building Hope in Kids – Uganda charity, and educates more than 800 girls and boys up to Grade 7. The boarding school provides education and three healthy meals alongside two snacks per day. However, according to Perkins, conditions can be difficult with the main power often failing and no access to refrigeration.

Jubaili Bros collaborated with Perkins, which provided a Perkins 1103-33TG1 diesel engine, delivering 45kVA, for installation in a Jubaili Bros Jet generator set. The standby power solution will provide dependable backup power to the school’s five core buildings – the administration block, the auditorium and chapel, the dormitories, library and dining hall. In addition, the generator set will also provide much-needed power for the future installation of washing machines and 50 personal computers.

“St. Patrick School was thrilled to be the recipient of the new diesel generator set,” remarked Father Julius Turyatoranwa, founder of Building Hope in Kids – Uganda. “It’s vital for us that we have a way to provide backup power to the entire school during the periodic outages from the national electricity grid. It’s been a pleasure to work with Jubaili Bros in Uganda and Perkins Engines Company Limited. Their support has really meant a lot to Building Hope in Kids – Uganda.”

Jubaili Bros and Perkins are also committed to supporting the ongoing servicing and support for the equipment.

“We’re delighted to have been able to support such a worthwhile and important charitable project,” commented Dan Bentley, Perkins EAME sales director. “It’s been a wonderful collaboration with Jubaili Bros, as we came together to help over 800 children, and more going forward, to continue their studies in safe, light and warm living conditions.”

According to IRENA, concrete policy actions and massive mobilisation of finance at full speed is required in order to meet the 2030 target. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has indicated that the world is at great risk of missing the 2030 triple renewables pledge made at COP28

This prediction has been outlined in the organisation’s ‘The Renewable Energy Statistics 2024’ report. The findings indicate that despite an unprecedented 14% increase of renewables capacity in 2023 – that has made renewables become the fastest growing source of power – significant investment is still required. In fact, it noted, in order to meet the goal set out in the UAE Consensus at COP28, global stakeholders will have to grow renewables capacity at a minimum 16.4% rate annually through 2030.

The current rate of growth will see the 11.2TW 2030 target be missed by 1.5TW, approximately 13.5%. Moreover, if the historic annual growth rate of 10% is fallen back to, then the world will only accumulate 6.5TW of renewables capacity by 2030 – this would miss the target by nearly one third.

Facing failure in renewable deployment

“Renewable energy has been increasingly outperforming fossil fuels, but it is not the time to be complacent,” said IRENA director-general, Francesco La Camera. “Renewables must grow at higher speed and scale. Our new report sheds light on the direction of travel; if we continue with the current growth rate, we will only face failure in reaching the tripling renewables target agreed in the UAE Consensus at COP28, consequently risking the goals of the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

“Today’s report is a wake-up call for the entire world: while we are making progress, we are off track to meet the global goal of tripling renewable energy capacity to 11.2TW by 2030,” added Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 president. “We need to increase the pace and scale of development. That means increasing collaboration between governments, the private sector, multilateral organisations, and civil society. Governments need to set explicit renewable energy targets, look at actions like accelerating permitting and expanding grid connections, and implement smart policies that push industries to step up and incentivise the private sector to invest. Additionally, this moment provides a significant opportunity to add strong national energy targets in NDCs to support the global goal of keeping the 1.5°C target within reach. Above all, we must change the narrative that climate investment is a burden to it being an unprecedented opportunity for shared socio-economic development.”

In a release around the report, IRENA paid particular attention to Africa due to its tremendous renewable potential and need for rapid, sustainable growth. The continent recorded a modest growth of 3.5%, increasing its renewable power generation to 205TWh in 2022. With the urgency to accelerate this building, IRENA is advancing the Accelerated Partnership for Renewables in Africa (APRA) initiative and is preparing an investment forum focused on APRA’s member countries later this year.

The importance of the continent to global efforts to fight climate change was reiterated at the Africa Energy Forum held in Barcelona last month. Find African Review's full review of the conference at:

Africa Energy Forum 2024 was held in the Fira de Montjuïc in Barcelona. (Image source: ACP)

Africa Energy Forum (aef) returned for its 26th year from 25-28 June in Barcelona with key African stakeholders convening to identify, debate and lay the groundwork for overcoming the continent’s pressing energy challenges and capitalise on the numerous opportunities

Adam Cortese, CEO of forum sponsor Sun Africa, took to the stage to kick off the 2024 edition of the conference with an impassioned speech around this year’s theme: ‘Energy Systems of the Future – Balancing Africa’s Needs with Global Goals’. This subject, he began, “is not just a discussion topic, but a call to action. It challenges us to innovate, collaborate and commit to a path that ensures Africa’s energy future is secure yet sustainable.”

Pursuing this line of thought, Cortese explained that chief among the continent’s development aspirations is, of course, the need to close the energy deficit. More than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa remain without access to reliable energy today; a key hurdle that stifles economic growth, limits educational opportunities and restricts healthcare delivery. Such a test, Cortese added, is exacerbated by the prevalence of climate change, creating a scenario where increasing access to reliable, affordable energy must be achieved in conjunction with transitioning to cleaner, more sustainable power systems.

“This dual challenge requires innovative solutions and collaborative efforts,” Cortese said. “Africa has a unique opportunity to leapfrog traditional fossil fuel-based energy systems. But make no mistake about it, expanding energy access while reducing the reliance on less environmentally-friendly resources will take incredible investment. We must realise that it is incumbent upon those countries that have primarily driven climate change through their development to help the continent achieve industrialisation through investments in clean energy. It would be hypocritical to expect emerging markets to spurn fossil fuels without offering concrete and expeditious solutions.”

Continuing, the CEO remarked that to achieve the collective goal of renewable power in an industrialised Africa, “innovation is necessary and a degree of risk is unavoidable.” Moreover, to achieve this in a diverse continent, stakeholders must think outside the box as one size will not fit all. At Sun Africa, this belief has driven executives to abandon conventional approaches and develop its own business model tailored to the specific needs of each market as well as taking on significant financial risks. “Why, you may ask. Because it is a moral imperative. We can no longer tolerate seven-year development cycles, we can no longer tolerate project announcements that do not come to bear. Closing the energy gap in Africa requires action and commitment, not endless bureaucracy and platitudes. Governments, international organisations, private enterprises and civil society must unite to prioritise sustainable energy access by aligning our efforts, sharing best practices and learning from each other’s successes and failures.”

A tale of transmission

Enhanced collaboration, Cortese stressed in his final notes, would not only help to deliver more generating assets but would facilitate investments in infrastructure. In noting this, Cortese touched on a key theme that would emerge throughout the four days – colouring speeches and delegate discussions alike – in the critical need to expand and upgrade existing grids and bolster cross-border transmission. According to Synergy Consulting, transmission remains a critically neglected segment of Africa’s energy network and received a mere 0.5% of continental energy investment over the last decade. Indeed, the aef exhibitor has noted this problem will remain a bottleneck for African countries, stifling project developments elsewhere and restricting energy access unless significant investment is committed – around US$45bn over the next eight years.

A picture of an aef stand with logo outside of the conference hall.

This vital aspect of Africa’s energy puzzle was also reflected in the speech of Richard Nelson, coordinator at Power Africa, in which he encouraged participants of aef 2024 to “think differently” as they engaged with other stakeholders during the week and beyond. He cited how the Africa Union has recently led by example here by finalising their Continental Master Plan. “This plan reflects African ingenuity, creativity and leadership toward an African single electricity market and ultimately universal electrification,” he remarked. “Integral to this master plan are stronger, reliable and interconnected transmission networks and the governance of regional power pools. The Continental Master Plan shows us that by enhancing transmission networks and integrating power pools, the cost of universal electrification could be cut by a third, saving in energy financing and reaching home to businesses faster than if each country were to strive for universal access independently.”

Opportunities abundant

Despite the hurdles to universal sustainable power access in Africa appearing high, so were the spirits across the conference. Jonathan Hoffman, interim CEO of Globeleq, epitomised this sentiment well by reflecting that it is currently “perhaps the most challenging time” to get deals done in Africa over the last 30 years due to high interest rates, the post-pandemic hangover, and construction for projects remaining a major issue. Yet, despite some big players looking to exit the market, he held a contrarian and positive outlook, stating, “I think it's a great time to look to be a potential buyer in this market. It's a time for the brave to hold their nerve to remain in the market and deliver, and that's what we intend on doing at Globeleq.”

Certainly, positive attitudes were found in abundance across the extensive exhibitor floor, where a myriad of companies representing the full range of the energy industry were in attendance. Participants this year included the likes of leading green technology company Envision. In Barcelona it used the stage to promote its innovative solutions such as its digital twin technology, designed to deliver optimal collaboration to improve wind farm performance through real-time response and risk aversion.

For those not aware of the company’s capabilities – which has seen it undertake projects across the continent in the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Côte D’Ivoire, and more – aef also provided the opportunity to reconnect with Karpowership. Ready to discuss the organisation’s primary offering in the form of its ‘plug-and-play’ Powership fleet (comprised of ship or barge-mounted, fully integrated floating power plants with flexible capacities ranging from 30MW to 470MW and utilising the latest multi-fuel engine technology), company representatives expressed their preparedness for addressing energy demands for any size and duration, while maximising the utilisation of local resources.

Ansaldo Energia was also flexing its muscles, drawing attention to its ability to meet the diverse needs of customers across the continent through its integrated model which includes the construction of turnkey power plants, gas turbines, steam turbines, generators, microturbines, support services and activities in renewable and nuclear power. This includes one of its most requested turbines on the continent – according the stand attendants – in the form of the gas turbine AE94.2 (which shared the spotlight alongside the AE94.3A). With high cycling capability, fast start up and high ramp rates, it is suitable for peak plants, grid support and dead power grid energisation and can burn non-conventional fuels such as naphtha, crude and heavy fuel oil, hydrogen rich fuels and coal gases, alongside liquid green fuels including HVO, methanol and ethanol.

Later explaining how its sponsorship of the conference underscores its commitment to supporting sustainable energy development across the continent, Trina Solar promoted its comprehensive solar solutions designed to meet Africa’s challenges head-on. This includes Vertex N modules with n-type i-TOPCon technology and 210mm product technology platform, the TrinaTracker system, and additional energy storage solutions.

The Ryse Energy Stand at Africa Energy Forum with their micro turbine solution.

There was also room for a number of first-time exhibitors at the conference. Drawing particular attention from this segment was Ryse Energy, an impact-driven, decentralised renewable energy company. At aef, the company was keen to promote its diverse range of robust, efficient and variable horizontal axis wind turbines covering the main three classifications of wind speeds. Ryse Energy has suggested that it has the most diverse range of technologies in the micro and small wind sector, ranging from 200W up to 60kW turbines. These, coupled with its solar and energy storage solutions, allow the company to offer ‘truly decentralised’ hybrid systems which are particularly suited to remote locations where diesel generators have traditionally been recognised as the only outlet. So far, the company has recorded 180,000 installations across all seven continents which have proven themselves in a range of applications from providing power in remote Ghanaian communities to functioning in a wind-to-water capacity in Kenya.

Breaking in Barcelona

Of course, no aef would be complete without a healthy amount of new deals being agreed upon and announced. Fortunately, 2024 lived up to expectations in this regard, as a number of high level deals were confirmed with a hand clasp in the Fira de Montjuïc conference centre.

This list included a strategic joint venture formed between RelyEZ and Veers Group to address the pressing energy challenges in southern Africa. The collaboration will see the two leverage their expertise, resources and technologies to develop and deploy innovative renewable energy solutions across the region, while fostering and developing local talent.

Meanwhile, Globeleq and African Trade & Investment Development Insurance (ATIDI) announced the latter’s support for the 35MW Globeleq Menengai Geothermal Project in Kenya with liquidity cover via the Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF). The proposed RLSF policy will cover the risk of payment default by Kenya Power & Lighting Company and Geothermal Development Corporation for the US$117mn project that is critical to the country’s efforts to becoming 100% clean energy-dependent by 2030.

General conversations being undertaken at aef.

In a bid to support the expansion of energy access in West Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a US$73mn contract award to Tetra Tech, a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services. Through the Power Africa Empower West Africa activity, Tetra Tech experts will work with governments, development finance institutions and the private sector in order to advance the transition to more sustainable, inclusive and resilient energy sectors. In a continuation of the 10-year engagement between the two entities, the contract will see the introduction of digital tools, e-mobility solutions and capacity-building programmes to upskill local workers for renewable energy careers. Efforts will be made to design and implement national electrification programmes, modernise transmission and distribution utilities, deploy clean energy technologies and clean energy investments within the region.

At the conference, ENGIE Energy Access also used the elevated platform to announce the official start of construction for 15 solar mini-grids in Zambia’s Eastern province. Funded by the 11th European Development Fund and the European Union, the project is seen as an important step towards the realisation of the national electrification plans and is a milestone in the organisation’s target to operate 60 mini-grids across the country by 2025.

Returning home

Next year, the show returns once again to African soil, arriving in Cape Town, South Africa. This handover was officially marked at the conference by Alex Wachira, principal secretary, state department for energy, ministry of energy & petroleum, Kenya, and Thabo Kekana, deputy director general, department of mineral resources & energy (DMRE), South Africa.

“It is a great pleasure for us in Kenya to hand over the baton to South Africa,” commented the former in his speech, before noting his pleasure at seeing delegates from all corners of the African continent present at the conference and working together to ensure Africa’s enormous energy potential is realised. “We are hoping after South Africa we shall not drop this baton, and that we ensure that the convention remains on African soil and make our words count.”

Alex Wachira speaking at aef.

For his part, Kekana added, “As we look forward to hosting aef in South Africa next year I am filled with optimism and excitement. This event will not only showcase the potential of our natural country, but highlight the significant strides we are making in transforming our energy landscape. The opportunities that [South Africa’s] energy transition presents are vast. Hosting aef and the Youth Energy Summit will provide an opportunity for us to share our experiences, learn from global best practices and obviously forge new partnerships. It will allow us to inspire and empower the next generation energy leaders who will drive Africa’s energy future. We are committed to continue with the legacy of excellence and innovation that aef represents. Together, we can build a brighter and more sustainable energy future for the Motherland.”

For now, it is up to the aef 2024 attendees to make use of the learnings and partnerships forged in Barcelona in the year ahead to build the foundations for a more promising future for the continent. Time will tell whether this has been successfully pursued, and will certainly be under scrutiny when the delegates reconvene for the 27th edition of the show in South Africa next year.

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