As a major challenge for the continent, energy autonomy will be at the center of the upcoming African Energy Fair as part of the Africa News Agency (ANA) Forums, quarterly meetings which bring together all the technical and financial partners on one of the themes at the heart of the challenges of the continent today.
For the first session, the African Energy Fair will be held on May 5 in Tunis, as part of the ANA Forums, at UTICA International Congress Center. It will be a good opportunity for all stakeholders in the sector to consider new financing mechanisms, in a short-term energy emergency and for South-South financial cooperation.
“585 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity, with an electrification rate of 14.2% in rural areas,” said the International Energy Agency. Though there are still initiatives in the solar, hydroelectric and wind sectors, renewable energies do not yet ensure the energy autonomy in the continent as set by some by 2030.
Fossil fuels, on the other hand, very significant in terms of the new basins recently detected – especially the MSGBC off Senegal – appear as short-term solutions in a context largely dominated by the latest commitments of the COP22. The First African Energy Fair will open at a time when efforts have to be made to meet a growing demand and secure energy transition.
The Financing Challenge
Bringing together African economic and political activists, experts and governmental decision makers, all of them will discuss the complex energy issues. To address development issues, 5 main themes will be dealt with according to the organizers. They include “Waste collection and recovery; Water treatment; Renewable energy technologies; Financing and investment; associations and specialized organizations.”
But as pharaonic projects such as the INGA hydroelectric dam in Congo have been expected for more than 30 years, financing seems to be urgent. How best to develop north-south cooperation, especially south-south cooperation? How can they be financed, even on the short term basis, and thus create new mechanisms? This is the challenge facing the specialists, such as Lionel Zinsou, former Prime Minister of Benin and co-chair of the Africa France Foundation; Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Rémy Rioux, AFD’s Director General and Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, Investment Director at Amethis Finance.
The choice of Tunisia
Organized in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mining, the African Energy Fair has chosen Tunisia for this first session. As a pioneer in adopting and promoting renewable energies, Tunisia, through Steg (Tunisian Energy and Gas Company), seems to be achieving energy self-sufficiency by 2030.
For its Minister of Energy, “Tunisia has been a pioneer in many things in the energy sector. And if it is time to develop an energy strategy by 2030, it is precisely thanks to the renewable energy component.”
The first African Energy Fair, in addition to expert panel discussions, will suffest to meet about forty exhibitors around B2B networking sessions. It is another way to promote economy for the sector and perhaps identify future funding.
Author: ANA // Photo: © ANA