Being rich in natural resources for power generation and demonstrating an increased interest in low-carbon technologies, battery storage, distributed generation solutions and integrated grids, Africa’s energy space is experiencing a progressive evolution.

According to The World Bank Energy project portfolio, there are currently 48 energy projects lined up on the continent, totalling US$ 3 billion. This demonstrates the need for related skills to match those positions that will become available to successfully implement these projects.

There is a concern that Africa lacks the sufficient number of job-ready workers and entrepreneurs capable of developing, installing, operating and managing off-grid renewable solutions. Added to this is the challenge of sourcing talent that is adaptable to a considerably dynamic sector.

It is critical that this talent is developed in a holistic and sustainable manner, meaning that those establishments that are proficient in identifying and retaining suitable talent will surface with a competitive advantage in the marketplace, due to accumulated institutional knowledge.

To empower today’s African youth, the 2019 African Energy Indaba will host the third African Youth Energy Innovator Showcase, giving 18- to 35-year-old individuals from across Africa the opportunity to be seen by industry experts and energy decision-makers.

Five winners have been chosen and will be able to showcase their innovations both locally and internationally to increase publicity and exposure. They will meet potential investors, key public and private-sector stakeholders and will possibly attract funding for their winning innovations.

The funding provided by the Africa Energy Indaba has helped past winners to develop sustainable energy businesses in Africa.

There is a vast array of speakers lined up for the 2019 Africa Energy Indaba – many of whom are global and African energy experts. Sean Cleary from Strategic Concepts will be facilitating the opening plenary discussion around regional collaboration and developing the Africa Power Vision.

Contributors to the discussion will include Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe; Christoph Frei, World Energy Council; Matar Al Neyadi, Ministry of Energy of the United Arab Emirates; Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency; as well as Amandou Hott, African Development Bank Group.

The discussion around disruptive energy business models will be led by Anton Eberhard of the University of Cape Town, alongside panel members including Musse Mohamud Ahmed, University of Malaysia, Sarawak; Rod Crompton, Wits Business School; Wendy Poulton, Eskom; and Eng Abel Tella, Association of Power Utilities Africa.

Further discussions will highlight the energy sector’s innovations in Africa, exploring upcoming and long-term prospects for technological advancements such as blockchain, where decentralisation and digitisation play a more prominent role within the continent.

The emergence of energy trading platforms: Securing energy supply and the importance of African Power Pools, will be acknowledged and prioritised across key players. Regional integration will be a significant theme as well as the role of the private sector in innovation and financing of energy initiatives in Africa.

The 2019 Africa Energy Indaba takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre on February 19 and 20, and will certainly provide a multitude of opportunities for anyone interested in the energy sector – especially those aiming to be future leaders of this sector…

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