The 2021 gathering marked 23rd anniversary of the Africa Energy Forum (AEF), celebrated in London this year
Day one saw AEF attendees warmly welcomed by a series of thought leaders, from NGOs and private institutions to government delegates, with opening remarks coming from: Simon Gosling, managing director, EnergyNet; John Lewis, managing director, Africa, Aggreko; Holger Rothenbusch, managing director and head of Infra and Climate Group, CDC Group and Penny Mordaunt MP, minister of state, Trade Policy for the UK Government.
The spotlight was on those financing commitments made at COP26, these set to be pivotal in supporting African economies' recovery from the coronavirus pandemic while also posing as an energy transition launchpad for the continent - a springboard from which to tackle the climate crisis and its impacts on the region.
This was followed by AEF’s opening panel: Energy Transition Pathways to a Just Transition for Africa. Here, members of the AfDB, CDC Group, Power Africa and The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet considered the importance of collective action in ensuring that finances are used in the most effective way possible with balancing priorities around energy poverty, climate change and technological innovation.
Day two went on with a recap on COP26, discussions centred around the need to move critical finance more effectively so that Africa's clean energy ambitions can be powered at speed. The challenges and opportunities of both gas and hydrogen as enablers of energy transition on the continent were common themes of the day, with investors and government representatives aligning on the need for greater public-private cooperation to improve project viability.
Country spotlight sessions also took centre stage, with ministers, delegates and key figureheads from Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya and other nations discussing topical issues including regulatory innovations and the seasonal, intermittent and reliability challenges associated with renewable power.
Day three (last day), was about some of the great work being conducted by key players across Africa, kicking off with live project presentations that featured the African Legal Support Facility, Power Africa, The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, and AfDB.
Meanwhile, further discussions considered the suitability of the current IPP model, the financial health of African utilities, and key trends in regulatory performance.