“The industry ought to have strong linkages that will have no political boundaries.” Charles

Exclusive interview with Charles Siwawa, Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Chamber of Mines, Botswana. In the African Utility Week conference track focused on large power users, he will address the delegates on: “Exploring versatile energy-mix production schemes for the mining sector”.

1. Tell us more about your organisation and your activities in the utility industry?

The Botswana Chamber of Mines is an organisation set up to represent the interests of its members who are exploration and mining companies. Its mandate is to advocate for policies that are conducive to the mining industry.

In Botswana the mining industry is the largest consumer of utilities such as electricity and water. It therefore is important to keep abreast of developments in this arena. It is also important to note that these utilities are not necessarily abundant in the country and have to be consumed sparingly.

2. Any specific project updates/success stories that you can share?
Currently, the country has a few projects aimed at being self-sufficient, or that will produce energy export capacity on some of these utilities.

3. What in your view are the main challenges currently to the energy industry in Africa?

There is a huge gap that has developed between the supply and demand of electricity in the SADC region driven by various factors. There are concerted efforts to bridge the gap, but the results will not be felt in the foreseeable future.

4. What is your vision for this industry?
The industry ought to have strong linkages that will have no political boundaries. Projects should be initiated that will solve the power issues for the near and medium term. It is a fact that perhaps in the long term these challenges will have been met but in the interim, the lack of adequate power will have had serious negative impacts on the regional industry.

5. You are part of the conference programme at this year’s African Utility Week in May, what will be your message?
I will advocate for cooperative linkages to provide solution to the shortage of power supply in the region. The solution does not lie with one country, but coming together of the various states.

6. What are you most looking forward to at African Utility Week?
Networking with other professionals to find solutions to this crucial means of production.