Africa Energy Indaba one step closer to unlocking the continent’s potential

7th March 2014

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The Africa Energy Indaba concluded last month (18–20 February) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event is the WEC’s regular annual African gathering.

Africa’s wealth of energy resources and untapped potential was highlighted, as was the need for more enablers that can unlock energy access for the broader population and new markets.

Opening the Indaba, South Africa’s energy minister Dikobe Ben Martins told delegates that the country’s parliament had been instructed to fast-track proposed legislation to level the playing field between utility Eskom and independent power producers (IPPs). South Africa has recently opened its energy sector to renewables- and cogeneration-based IPPs. The government saw this as a key way to enhance security of supply and address the country’s power shortage.

The minister also met with Christoph Frei, WEC Secretary General, at the conference.


The WEC launched its 2014 World Energy Issues Monitor at the event with a keynote speech by Brian Statham, Chair of SANEA and the WEC’s studies committee. This was followed by a media roundtable including WEC Chair Marie-José Nadeau and Christoph Frei discussing the findings of the study with reporters.

Qedani Mahlangu, a cabinet member of Gauteng province’s infrastructure development arm, launched the province’s Green Agenda to drive the uptake of renewables and energy efficiency as response to the energy trilemma challenges highlighted by the WEC.

Ms Mahlangu said: “We need to move beyond business as usual. The energy trilemma is more poignant to developing countries within the African continent than ever before.”

The Indaba played host to a number of side events including the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL). Mohinder Gulati, the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer of SE4ALL, led a discussion on how the initiative will implement its goals of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy access through an African regional hub and to increase country participation elsewhere.

During the week Marie-José Nadeau and Christoph Frei held talks in the capital Pretoria with Nelisiwe Magubane, Director General of Energy, South Africa, who recognised the importance of the energy trilemma and who pledged her continual support to future rounds of the Indaba.

This year the Indaba hosted two World Energy Leaders’ Dialogues, organised by the WEC.


One session explored prospects for South Africa’s nascent shale gas market. Summarising the discussion at the closed-door roundtable, Christoph Frei, WEC Secretary General, said that more needs to be understood about the potential of shale gas in South Africa. He added that issues relating to water usage and having the right regulatory framework and entrepreneurial context will help determine the pace of development.

The other Dialogue looked at how African utilities can expand electricity access by exchanging best practice via the Global Electricity Initiative. The GEI roundtable aims to expand GEI’s impact in Africa, the world’s most energy-poor continent.

Rounding up the Indaba, Marie-José Nadeau, WEC Chair, commented: “I have seen at first-hand hand how the Africa Energy Indaba has been able to bring policymakers and business leaders together to act on the goals of accelerating energy access in a sustainable way, and I am pleased that positive steps have been taken during the meeting to build a new consensus for the region.”

“The World Energy Council stands united with African leaders to support the continent’s drive to deliver the necessary policy, regulatory, and market environments for sustainable development,” Mrs Nadeau added.  (Read her plenary speech here: Marie-Jose Nadeau Indaba keynote.)

The Africa Energy Indaba is supported by SANEA, NEPAD, and the WEC, while Siyenza was the event organiser.

Catch up on the Africa Energy Indaba on TV and radio below:
  • CNBC Africa: Bonang Mohale, WEC Africa Vice-Chair, puts the energy trilemma in context
  • SABC News: Christoph Frei speaks about the Indaba and energy issues on the South African broadcaster
  • CCTV – Christoph Frei, Marie-José Nadeau, and other senior energy experts comment on energy challenges on the Chinese state broadcast channel
  • Classic FM: Brian Statham, Chair of SANEA, and Stuart Neil, WEC Senior Director of External Relations, preview the Indaba and discuss energy issues on a prime-time radio talk show

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