Energy indaba to benefit Zim

HARARE - Zimbabwe, currently grappling a massive power crisis, is tipped to take advantage of the funding and investment opportunities presented by the African Energy Indaba to be held next year in South Africa.

The Africa Energy Indaba, adopted by the World Energy Council (Wec) as its African regional event, receives global recognition as the foremost event for energy professionals from across the globe.

Liz Hart, managing director of Siyenza — the organisers of the Indaba, said local companies stand to benefit immensely from attending the forum.

“Zimbabwean companies will not only benefit from networking among more than 300 senior level energy experts and decision makers planning and developing the modern energy requirements for Africa.

“They will also be able to understand how the energy landscape is creating new opportunities to address our continent’s challenges,” she said.

Presented by the South African National Energy Association (Sanea) in association with the World Energy Council, and supported by the African Union and the Nepad Planning and Coordinating Agency, the forum has achieved the highest level of endorsement.

Although Africa is endowed with abundant energy resources, said Hart, to harness these resources to the full benefit of both suppliers and consumers will require cooperation between governments and between the public and private sectors on a grand scale.

Zimbabwe recently opened the energy sector to independent power producers to help increase power generation to meet national demand.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority licensed ten independent power producers with a capacity to generate over 5 000 megawatts of electricity.

The country’s huge power deficit has impacted negatively on industry’s performance.

The country generates an average of 1 000 megawatts out of a requirement of 2 200 megawatts.

 “The energy sector is a capital intensive industry that requires high Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

And the fact that government is now allowing private players into power generation provides an opportunity for local companies to seek funding and also get into partnership with foreign companies,” Panganayi Sithole, Zimbabwe Energy Council (Zec) executive director, said.

Sithole said although the power projects were capital intensive costing $2,5 million per megawatt and take up to five years to complete, the availability of adequate and reliable energy is critical for the attainment of economic recovery, growth and transformation.

The Africa Energy Indaba 2013 will be held from the 19th - 21st February  19 to 13, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. - Business Writer

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