The African Energy Chamber (AEC) united German and European energy stakeholders during the Invest in African Energy reception in Frankfurt on Thursday, representing the third stop of its ongoing European investment tour aimed at showcasing the sizable investment opportunities across the African energy value chain. As Europe seeks to navigate the energy transition while attaining long-term energy security, Africa represents a strategic partner for the energy hungry-bloc, featuring prolific renewable resources – which are expected to account for over 80% of new power generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa through 2030 – as well as the potential for low-cost, commercial hydrogen production.
“It’s about a balanced approach between Africa’s need to industrialize and to end energy poverty. Africa is taking advantage of its renewable potential and I’m seeing the movement getting bigger and people getting more interested because of the blue and green hydrogen agenda being pushed,” commented Marie Badiane-Mbuyu, an Associate Lawyer who advises on building blue hydrogen ecosystems in West Africa.
With Germany accelerating its activity in Africa in the past 24 months – including large-scale hydrogen investments in Namibia, Angola and South Africa and an expression of interest to import LNG from Senegal and Mauritania – the reception could not have come at a more strategic time. Germany also offers a competitive edge when it comes to digitization, automation and technology, which African energy stakeholders are keen to leverage.
“There is always a large gap between the producers of technology and its users. Most countries only understand how to bridge that gap when there is a real need,” commented Dr. Anwenwillie Fru Ndenge, CEO of Professional Business Solutions – PBS Gmbh. “Right now, we have a need because of climate change and the energy shortage. There is no gas turbine built in the world without a Siemens turbine, for example. Therefore, if we are going to build a gas plant in Africa, there is no better place to be than Germany. We need the technology and the people to transfer the technology.”
“I’m interested in getting German companies to invest in Africa, particularly Equatorial Guinea and Namibia,” echoed Pablo Memba, Director General of GML, a business development and management consulting firm. “Germany has some of the best technologies and it looks like the German business community is interested in doing business in Africa. If the Chamber can continue these types of events in other European cities, as well as in Asia and India, then it will attract more companies, technologies and capital to come and invest in Africa.”
“What I like about the format is that it’s a small, specialized community with a diverse set of profiles, from public sector to private sector to financiers and so forth. It’s interesting to meet and network with different people and it’s the first event of its kind,” added Marie Dieng, Advisor for GET.invest, a European program that mobilizes renewable energy investments in emerging markets.
The European investment tour comes ahead of the Chamber’s flagship event – African Energy Week (AEW) in Cape Town, taking place from October 16-20 – aimed at driving Africa’s energy sector growth and making African energy poverty history by 2030. Following a successful 2022 edition, AEW 2023 will build on the discussions held, deals signed and partnerships formed to catalyze new energy investments and private sector participation from European and global firms.
“The Chamber wants to listen to what European stakeholders have to say and to build African Energy Week around what it has heard, taking the event to the next level,” continued Badiane-Mbuyu. “The first and second editions were about building a strong African community and internal credibility. The third edition is big enough now to look outward and ask: what can Africa bring to the world stage?”