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Featured image: Former energy minister Jeff Radebe. Credit: SA Government

On Thursday, South Africa’s minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, addressed members attending the 4th International Energy Forum (IEF) symposium on energy poverty and Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) energy data transparency workshop.

The Minister said that the country is working to attract investments into projects throughout the county.

“In 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa set a target to lure investments of $100bn by 2023, in an attempt to stimulate economic growth. Our economic growth target has been falling far short of the 5.4% annual target set in the National Development Plan,” he said.

He added that there are opportunities for developing countries, like South Africa, to position themselves to benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution (4-IR). According to the minister, the 4-IR requires that “we are prepared to capture, analyse and process large data. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.”

“South Africa hosts this 4th Symposium barely 7 days before our 6th democratic national elections. Our elections will be held on 8 May 2019 to elect a new National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures in each of our nine provinces.”

“It is, therefore, good timing and relevant for this Symposium to address the challenge posed by the paucity of energy data, because in the South African context we refer to the challenges of poverty, inequality and joblessness. Energy poverty can only be effectively addressed by closing the energy data gaps because without energy data, it becomes very difficult for us to plan in the quest for Sustainable Energy for All,” he said.

The IEF and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) convene the symposium to engage African countries, including representatives from governments, industry, multilateral and bilateral organisations, finance institutions, and aid agencies to develop an understanding of the energy data and energy poverty issues, share experiences and knowledge. Read: DRC: Green mini-grid programme to reduce energy poverty