“The utility industry is maturing in Africa”
African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa has come of age as a truly pan-African event, by the industry and for the industry, with continent-wide collaboration and celebration to produce the best of Africa, says programme director Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl. She adds: “this year’s gathering had just over 5000 registered attendees from 76 countries, of which 30 African, 1100 delegates, 240 exhibitors, 190 speakers, nine conference tracks, and with a high profile opening session and an industry awards gala dinner it was the biggest event yet in our 14 year history.”
Eskom’s Group Executive Transmission, Mongezi Ntsokolo, lead the high-level panel of experts during the opening session, which included Agnes Dasewicz of the USAID’s Power Africa Initiative and NERSA CEO Phindile Balendi. Other leading delegates and experts who were at the event included Reynolds Dagogo-Jack, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Power in Nigeria, Robert Kisubi, Stakeholder Manager at Umeme in Uganda and the World Bank’s water development expert Diego Rodrigues.
Utility industry is maturing
African Utility Week’s Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl says “the focus for 2014 covered the vision for a sustainable African utility sector including topics around the restructuring and privatisation of the Nigeria power sector, delving into what is required to improve the financial viability of water utilities, and the growing concern around the need for water-energy-food nexus initiatives.”
She continues: “it is evident from the frank presentations delivered by industry leaders and through the open conversations during the networking functions that the utility industry is maturing in Africa. This market is the frontier for development and is not willing to copy current formulas without exploring and thoroughly researching solutions that fit the environment.”
African Utility Week Awards
The sold out, inaugural African Utility Week Awards were the hot ticket of the event where the City of Cape Town was named top municipality. Other Awards included best African Power Utility, won by Genesis Electricity Limited of Nigeria; Zambian ZESCO’s MD Cyprian Chitundu was named African Utility Executive of the Year, Uganda’s NWSC won best African Water Utility and Johannesburg’s City Power won the Energy/Water Efficiency award.
The invitation-only Utility CEO Forum was attended by CEOs and high-level utility executives from countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and particularly focused on short-term, technical wins that utilities can implement. In addition, the discussions examined how utilities manage human capital, the on-going challenges of financing power projects and where utilities can take action to mitigate against finance risk. The two day meeting was accompanied by time for interaction and networking between the various utility CEOs, and continues to build on the relationships founded at last year’s inaugural meeting.
Expo and free workshops
Some 240 exhibitors displayed the latest technology and services in the industry disciplines of metering, clean power, water, large power users, investment and finance, transmission & distribution, smart grids and generation. Leading local and global names that were there included Accenture, Edison Power Group, Marelli Motori and Yingli Solar.
To assist utilities and large power users become more energy efficient and explore renewable energy options, African Utility Week also teamed up with professional industry bodies for a varied series of free CPD-accredited technical workshops in electrical engineering, energy efficiency and renewable energy that took place on the expo floor. Dozens of delegates also attended site visits to see applications of new technologies and services in action at utility energy and water facilities, industrial premises and companies around Cape Town.
Some feedback from satisfied exhibitors and attendees at African Utility Week:
“I congratulate the team on a successful 14th African Utility Week and know the quality and standard will be maintained in years to come.”- Joshua Mgeyekwa, Managing Director, Tanga UWSSA, Tanzania
“Having had an opportunity to serve on the Advisory Board for African Utility Week and attend the conference and exhibition enabled me to interact with colleagues, exchange cutting edge technology and appreciate how others deal with both challenges and opportunities in energy.” – David Otwoma, Chief Science Secretary, National Commission for Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and Chairman, Eastern Africa Association for Radiation Protection, Kenya
“I was very impressed with the level of service and staff calibre representing the conference organisers. There was always someone available to help and no problem was too difficult to solve. I look forward to working with you again.” – Chris Haw, Managing Director, Solar Future Energy, South Africa
“It was a pleasure and I enjoyed the interactions and opportunities for discussion with colleagues from other areas. Compliments to you all on an extremely well-run conference.” –Peter Flower, Director: Water & Sanitation, Utility Services Directorate, City of Cape Town, South Africa
“African Utility Week continues to improve and was the best yet. This has turned into a world class event where one gets to network with important role players and key decision makers. We will definitely be back next year.“ – Dean Pratt, General Manager Africa, MarelliMotori, South Africa – platinum sponsors
“Many thanks for giving me a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the AUW. It was indeed a most noteworthy experience for me and I look forward to collaborating very closely with AUW in the near future… You guys are an amazing team. And it was really a great experience…” – Ifeoma Malo, Special Assistant on Energy Policy, Office of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Power, Nigeria
“It was a pleasure seeing you again and participating in African Utility Week. You guys did a great job in organizing this massive event. We look forward to the next one.” – Andrea Orzan, Business Development Director Africa, SunEdison
“The event is very informative and interesting and I recommend it to anyone in the profession to attend”. – Abiud Kaura, Senior Manager, Nampower, Namibia
“Thank you for hosting such a great conference. We enjoyed the focus days, the main conference tracks and the CEO forum. Thank you also for looking after us so well. We achieved what we set out to and would like to build on this going forward. We would like to discuss some future collaboration, especially along the clean energy side.” – Michelle T Davies, Head Partner for Clean Energy Projects, Eversheds – gold sponsors and award winners.
Dates for next year’s African Utility Week:
Conference and expo: 12-13 May 2015
Focus days: 11 May 2015
Site visits: 14 May 2015
Linkedin: African Power Forum
Communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone : +27 21 700 3558
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844