Kannan Lakmeeharan will moderate a panel discussion during one f African Utility Week’s finance and investment tracks.

Kannan_LakmeeharanMr Lakmeeharan is a member of McKinsey’s Electric Power and Natural Gas Practice and Infrastructure Practice. Since 2014, when he joined McKinsey, he has been working mostly with governments, utilities and development agencies on electricity sector reform, operations and capital productivity.

He has over 18 years of experience in the electricity utility industry and two in mining. Before joining McKinsey, he worked in various executive roles at Eskom, the state owner electricity utility of South Africa, responsible for system operations & planning, supply chain, engineering and primary energy procurement at different periods.

What surprises you about this sector?
I am constantly surprised by the entrepreneurship that is exhibited in this sector; energy is such a critical factor in empowering communities (particularly women) that in the absence of action, entrepreneurs step in, in the most innovative ways even if not sustainable.

What is your vision for the power sector?
I believe energy and education will be critical enablers to unleashing the full potential of the continent. The dream of universal access has seemed so far away but the momentum seems to be shifting with the focus of so many institutions shifting not just in words but also in actions to solving the many issues that have plagued this sector; proper planning, financing, adequate technical and leadership capability and so on. I hope to see this coalesce into real action over the next 10 to 15 years to accelerate connections and provision of cleaner energy at an affordable price.

You will moderate a session at African Utility Week on “Raising private sector finance for cross border generation and transmission projects”. What are you hoping from this session? Will you have a specific message for the attendees?
I hope to see practical ideas that will bring in private sector finance in a fair risk sharing agreement (where the public sector de-risks the projects as much as possible and the private sector asks for reasonable guarantees that do not unduly burden the national fiscus).  Let’s not only bring up the challenges/problems (though important), rather share success stories we can learn from and scale up and be clear about the next steps that could move these ideas from theory to practice.