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Energy, minerals, and mining ministers prepare for Africa Energy Forum

Nearly 2,500 delegates will be attending the conference in Barcelona. (Image source: aef)

More than 33 African ministers and 100 high-level public sector officials are expected to attend Africa Energy Forum (aef) running from 25-28 June at the Fira de Montjuïc in Barcelona, Spain

The 26th edition of aef will be held under the theme ‘Energy Systems of the Future – Balancing Africa’s Needs with Global Goals’ and will place Africa’s energy landscape at centre stage.

With Spain’s commitment of US$2.3bn in funding to South Africa and its recently announced support for green hydrogen projects in Mauritania, the country joins France, Germany, Italy, the EU and the UK as European nations step up their commitment to clean energy development in the African continent.

But is the private sector really ready for these opportunities? While renewable energy capacity on the continent has almost doubled across the last ten years, most commentators agree that this is not enough. Indeed, as indicated by Climate Analytics research, Africa requires US$100bn a year in climate finance to meet the COP28 renewable energy goals. This is five times more than current investment levels, indicating a substantial gap that must be addressed.

“The private sector has already demonstrated its willingness to commit billions to projects, but projects still aren’t moving fast enough,” said EnergyNet’s Simon Gosling. “It’s the industrialised nations that will be most affected if Africa cannot significantly increase its electrification rates and unlock the investment landscape that is inhibiting proven private sector players.

“World food security, access to minerals, textiles, and industrial growth are critical to future economic growth, health, and sustainability. With Africa forecast to be home to a quarter of the world’s population under 25 years by 2050, red tape must be reduced, and projects must start happening at scale and pace.”

Correcting the narrative in Barcelona

In Spain, there are high hopes that the solution to such a daunting challenge will be found as investors from nearly 90 countries are expected to be in attendance at the conference.

Public and private sector stakeholders will spend almost a full half-day together, behind closed doors, discussing the challenges both sides are facing. All attending ministers and vice presidents, as well as heads of utilities (national and municipal), regulatory bodies, DFIs, and private investors, will be in the room.

The new Corporate Leadership Roundtable will also give private sector developers and investors a platform to debate the opportunities and challenges they face in moving projects forward, sparking vital discussions before they meet with Ministers and utilities to establish an improved path for Africa’s energy sector.

This format will create the most high-level sessions ever held at the aef, where business leaders can spend exclusive, quality time with public sector counterparts.

Key topics on the agenda across the four days include the potential of hydrogen on the continent; grid management; energy storage and distribution; the future roles of gas and mining; advancing renewable energy projects, distributed power, and commercial and industrial (C&I) projects to accelerate universal access; navigating power markets; and Africa’s broader energy transition.

Discover African Review’s preview of the event in the latest issue of the magazine available here

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