The West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC), held recently in Lagos, Nigeria, attracted various key industry mover and shakers and celebrated the successes of the power sector privatisation. The discussions were also centred on the challenges the region is facing with regards to its energy demand.Tony

In welcoming delegates to the opening keynote session, Nigeria’s Minister of Power, the Honourable Prof Chinedu Nebo, noted that the 11th annual WAPIC conference and exhibition was timely as it was ‘the first of its kind in the post-privatisation period in the country’. Heirs Holdings CEO Tony Elumelu also addressed the opening session.

Importance of privatisation

Vibrant messages were imparted by keynote speakers including the importance of the privatisation exercise in the country where licences were provided to six power generation companies, 11 power distribution companies and one power transmission company.

Event director of WAPIC, Claire O’Connell said:

‘The overarching message from keynote speakers are that the privatisation exercise would be ‘more glamorous if we had power’ and that this robust sector cannot perform optimally without a healthy transmission and distribution network. The panellists spoke openly about the problematic limited availability of gas which is undermining power generation, but discussions ended on a positive note that it is now up to us [Nigerians] to create the right environment for foreign direct investment.’

West African Power Industry Awards

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, former Nigerian Power Minister Bart Okechukwu Nnaji and Ughelli Power were among the award winners in the first annual WAPIC awards ceremony. The award for Outstanding Woman in Power was presented to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala while Prof Nnaji was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Ughelli Power won for the Power Transaction of the Year.

Other winners included:

Best Rural Electrification Project: Solar Light Company

Best Renewable Energy Project: Quintas

Excellence in Power Transmission or Distribution: ABB

Excellence in Power Generation: Seven Energy

WAPIC will be returning to the Eko Hotel in Nigeria in 2015, with the conference being hosted on the 25-26 November. Pre-conference workshops will take place on 24 November, and the awards ceremony will take place on 25 November.

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Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl has been working in the African power, energy and water sectors since 2011, first with African Utility Week and now as the Editor of ESI Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of the Global and African Power & Energy Elites publications. With her passion for sustainable business and placing African countries on the international stage, Nicolette takes a keen interest in current affairs and technology trends.