Africa’s estimated 125.3 billion barrels of crude oil and 620 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves present an opportunity for the continent to accelerate the diversification of the energy mix and address energy poverty while driving industrialization, employment creation, gross domestic product growth and environmental sustainability. In this regard, the 2023 edition of the African Energy Week (AEW) conference and exhibition – Africa’s premier event for the energy sector which takes place in Cape Town from October 16-20 – is proud to take place under the theme, ‘The African Energy Renaissance: Prioritizing Energy Poverty, People, the Planet, Industrialization and Free Markets.’
With over 600 million people across the continent living in energy poverty, 900 million without access to clean cooking solutions and African economies grappling with chronic shortages and high energy prices, the AEW 2023 theme reflects the urgent need for Africa to prioritize the needs of its people while correspondingly promoting sustainable development and industrialization, creating opportunities for free and open markets.
“Africa has the potential to become a global leader in energy, but we must first address the urgent need to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to our people,” said Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President of the African Energy Chamber, adding that, “This year’s theme underscores the importance of addressing energy poverty, driving large-scale project developments across the oil, gas, renewable and broader power sectors. At the same time, it reflects that it is imperative that we create the right conditions for investment to flow and the private sector to flourish.”
Alleviating energy poverty will all come down to the continent’s strong pipeline of oil and gas projects. On the oil front, upstream projects to the likes of Eni’s Baleine project in Ivory Coast; Namibia’s three-fold discoveries in the Orange Basin; Zimbabwe’s onshore exploration campaign in the Muzarabani Basin, among others, continue to showcase the potential for upstream investment. Downstream, Angola’s three-refinery developments (Soyo, Cabinda and Lobito); the East African Crude Oil Pipeline; and other infrastructure developments offer new opportunities for petroleum distribution in Africa. All of these projects will be key for addressing energy poverty while accelerating industrialization.
Meanwhile, climate action remains a top priority for Africa, as it represents the continent most impacted by climate change. As such, a series of sizeable low-carbon natural gas projects have and continue to be launched including Eni’s Coral South Project in Mozambique; TotalEnergies’ Mozambique Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development; bp’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project in Mauritania/Senegal; Perenco’s $1 billion LNG development in Gabon, among others. These developments open new prospects for power generation and distribution, job creation and capacity building, as well as revenue generation for countries continent-wide. As such, AEW 2023’s theme reflects the urgency behind these projects, focusing dialogue and deals on energy poverty, people and the planet.
On the renewables front, Africa has emerged as a global green hydrogen investment hub with large-scale projects underway in Mauritania, Namibia, Egypt and South Africa. These projects aim to capitalize on the continent’s immense solar and wind potential, accelerating energy access and reducing carbon emissions. The continent’s focus on sustainable energy is underscored by AEW’s focus on the planet.
While global energy transition related policies and restrictive local regulations and fiscal terms have disrupted the flow of foreign direct investments into African energy, this year’s AEW theme depicts the need for both established and emerging African energy producers to revitalize energy laws and prioritize the creation of enabling environments in which the private sector will thrive. In order for the continent to meet its energy and economic developments goals, prioritization must be placed on free markets, and AEW 2023 represents the platform where discussions on this topic will be held. Featuring investment-dedicated discussions and summits, AEW 2023 enables industry stakeholders to discuss best practices for the continent to maximize private sector participation while addressing investment and infrastructure gaps.
“AEW 2023 will be a critical opportunity to advance the energy agenda in Africa and promote sustainable development across the continent. We have said it time and time again, Africa needs free market, increased private sector participation and business-enabling fiscal terms to grow. The AEW theme reflects this clearly and we look forward to welcoming delegates from across the globe to Cape Town for what promises to be a dynamic and productive event,” Ayukegba continued.
Under this market-focused theme, a suite of high-level speakers will discuss growth opportunities across Africa’s entire energy value chain with the aim of accelerating energy security, climate change mitigation and value addition for local economies and people. In addition to dialogue, AEW 2023 will feature exclusive networking sessions and deal-signings, uniting African energy policymakers and companies with global investors. Additionally, technical workshops and presentations will showcase the latest innovations in technology and services while youth-led side events provide a platform for young entrepreneurs and industry players to engage with market leaders.
For more information about AEW 2023, please visit the event website at www.aecweek.com and secure your spot at the biggest gathering of energy stakeholders on the continent. Join AEW 2023 and be part of the African energy renaissance.