In the lead-up to the Africa Energy and Infrastructure Investment Forum, we spoke to some of the key market participants who will also be on stage as panelists in London.
This Interview Series, gets to grips with what is front of mind for many developers and financiers as the African energy and infrastructure landscape evolves. Our speaker, Lungile Mashele, Energy Specialist,
DBSA (Development Bank of Southern Africa) shared her insights on some of the key challenges and opportunities.
If you could have any (industry-related) question answered at the conference, what would it be?
The bankability and financing of off-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Increasingly these projects are gaining momentum and it is no wonder, it has become the panacea for rural electrification. With so many small IPPs clamouring for this vast space, what is the role of government and funders?
If you had a magic wand that could do anything for the industry, what would you wish for?
Stable governments, healthy utilities, large IPPs, willing and affording customers, eager developers and anxious funders.
If you could give one piece of advice to governments across the region who are looking to grow their country’s energy footprint, what would it be?
Consistency, reliability and transparency is key in ensuring the support of project sponsors, contractors and funders. Governments tend to underplay the role that a solid government plays in ensuring energy security. Governments also need to focus on delivery and cohesion within the various departments in order to bring much needed energy capacity. Energy is an enabler, not just for economic growth but for political and social expediency too.
Do you expect to see more business in distributed storage or in centralised grid facilities as sub-Saharan market develops?
Definitely both! Despite the costs and overruns there is an increase in the number of centralised mega-projects. Simultaneously there is an increase in distributed systems. Africa’s energy challenges are layered and require multiple solutions. There are vast natural resources which are renewable and fossil-fuelled in nature which support Africa’s energy security goals. There are industries that require the stability and reliability that comes with a centralised grid but could benefit from having renewable energy during the day backed by battery, hydro or gas storage.
To register for the Africa Energy and Infrastructure Investment Forum click here