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22 March 2013 – The expansion of mines in southern African countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Zambia is set to trigger an increased need for electricity generation capacity. This, in turn, will fuel the development of the transmission and distribution (T&D) market in the region.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that this T&D market in southern Africa covering Namibia, Botswana and Zambia including high voltage switchgear, high voltage cables and high voltage transformers earned revenues of US$327.4 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach US$393.4 million in 2016. “The mining sector, the largest consumer of electricity in southern Africa, will catalyse the high voltage T&D market in the region,” Frost & Sullivan’s energy and environmental research analyst Muneera Salie, says. “Mining is the most prominent driver of electricity demand and economic growth. Therefore, reliable power supply to this sector is crucial.”

While the need for increased electricity generation is evident, the region is still unable to meet the current load demand. Plans to enhance power generation will therefore, necessarily, involve significant investments in generation and transmission infrastructure as well.

“The region has to focus on developing the interconnectivity between countries in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). This will alleviate the struggle to meet an individual country’s load demand. The cost of imports is high, and countries need to ensure greater independence in terms of their power needs.”

African countries have a reputation of resisting the integration of independent power producers (IPPs). This perception is changing. “The entry of IPPs into the market will help governments meet technical and financial challenges, assisting in the development of southern Africa,” Salie says. “It has been proven that IPPs easily attract the funding required for projects and could support the region in the delivery of a more developed T&D network.”