Key Africa power summit opens in Cape Town
from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Cape Town, South Africa
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of attendees from around the globe have converged in South Africa for the annual African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa to explore measures of securing the future development of the continent’s power and water industries.
The event, said to be the biggest such gathering in the sectors in the continent, has resumed at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, where it will run until Thursday.
Scheduled to attract some 5 000 attendees, the event will feature 250 exhibitors, 190 speakers, eight conferences, free technical as well as three high-profile plenary sessions.
An awards dinner scheduled for Wednesday evening is among the highlights of the 15th edition of the African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa as is the Utility CEO Forum that executives from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe will attend.
According to organisers, it is the only African forum where C-level executives from Africa’s leading utilities come together to discuss pressing topics within the industry and to accelerate cross-border collaboration, development plans and the advancement of regional centres of excellence throughout Africa.
On Tuesday, Brian Molefe, the newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer of Eskom, the host country’s power utility, will deliver the keynote address.
Molefe, on the back of a successful spell at Transnet, has been tasked to turn the fortunes of the beleaguered power firm around after months of negative press.
“The industry has welcomed the appointment of Mr Molefe during a challenging time in the sector and we are honoured that he has chosen African Utility Week to share his vision for our energy future,” says event director, Evan Schiff.
“We also look forward to welcoming some 5 000 power and water professionals to our conference and exhibition and turn the Mother City into Africa’s energy capital for this week.”
Power Africa, United States President Barack Obama’s initiative to improve access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, is the official country partner of the conference and expo.
Power Africa works with African governments, the private sector, and other partners to add more than 30 000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity as well as increase electricity access by adding 60 million new home and business connections throughout all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Andrew Herscowitz, Coordinator for Power Africa, says Cape Town was a befitting venue as Obama launched the initiative in the coastal city almost two years ago.
“We are excited to participate and engage with thousands of power professionals from around the continent gathering at African Utility Week to discuss their shared challenges and how they can work together to improve the way Africans live and work.
“We look forward to continuing to be part of this on-going conversation and making a difference in the African power sector,” says Herscowitz.
Spintelligent, the leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the United Kingdom, are organising the African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa.
– CAJ News
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