Energy Forum Celebrations To Be Hosted In Africa For The First Time

  • What is in it for Botswana?
  • What will the government stand to gain from this talk shop?
  • Stakeholders share their fears

John Churu

The 20th Africa Energy Forum (AEF) is to be hosted in Mauritius from 19-22 June 2018, coming to Africa for the first and only time as a celebration of its 20-year history.
The annual Africa Energy Forum will celebrate its 20th birthday by inviting the international energy community to Mauritius for the four-day conference and private exhibition. Botswana is expected to take part at the jamboree as both an observer as well as a country that is at the trial stages of its abundant green technologies.
Speaking during the recent budget speech Minister Kenneth Matambo highlighted the importance the government places the energy sector. “Government recognises the critical need for the development and maintenance of economic infrastructure in promoting development in general, and economic growth in particular. Hence, a significant amount of the 2018/2019 budget is proposed for allocation to energy, water, roads, information and communication technology infrastructure. In the area of energy, Government will continue to invest in power generation, transmission and distribution.
This is because, adequate power supply is a critical enabler for investment, as well as for improving the standard of living in Batswana.  In this regard, an amount of approximately P2.0 billion has been proposed for allocation to the energy sector. Furthermore, Government has established an independent energy regulator, namely the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority, which will ensure orderly development of the energy sector by encouraging participation of independent power producers in the generation of power, as well as promoting the goal of energy supply mix as espoused in NDP 11. These continued reforms and investment initiatives in the energy sector are aimed at stabilising the power supply in the economy and promoting economic growth and job creation.”
Indeed the appointment of BERA is enough to convince Batswana that the government is serious about developing the sector. In an interview with Gazette Business, the CEO for Boswa Energy Chief Executive Tumelo Sealetsa said the conference should come up with an action plan which will build the future for energy in Botswana.” He added that Botswana was currently investing in Green Technologies as such it was important that Botswana be part of the future.
“As government we are not as aggressive as we are supposed to be in as far as this type of technologies are concerned, however, the Botswana Power Corporation is doing an impressive job in that respect he said. He said although the government has a new ministry which caters for green technologies, that alone was not convincing enough. Coming up with a ministry is different from implementation,” he observed. “We need to engage relevant companies if we are to get the best of our investment,” Sealetsa warned.
On another note, Sealetsa decried the fact that big foreign companies continue to exploit poorer nations with impunity. ”It sad that foreign oil conglomerates fail to give back to people in the countries that they are extracting some natural resources. He lamented the fact that a lot of big companies come to continents like Africa and exploit the human and natural resources without any regard to the effect their activities cause to the environment. “Such companies could give back to research and development and improve the lives of people there.”
The UK’sBP has seen its underlying profits more than double in 2017 as its upstream business unit returned to profit. BP’s underlying replacement cost profit for 2017 totalled $6.2 billion, up from $2.6 billion the previous year.
This does not take into account the net $3.3 billion after tax charge for non-operating items booked in 2017, the majority of which related to costs associated with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
On the home front, on the 11th October 2017 Shumba Energy received its first revenues from its coal trading division. According to Mining Review Africa, “Shumba Energy has announced the first sales revenue from its trading division, Shumba Coal Trading (SCT). The miner has sold over 1,000 tonnes of coal to the regional market. SCT was established in 2015 to manage the company’s trade of coal, and also other Botswana coal producers.”
The decision to move the Forum to Mauritius from its usual location in Europe came about to celebrate the achievements of the AEF community on ‘home turf.’  Strategically located in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is ideally located for doing business in Africa, as well as being internationally recognised for its governance framework, ease of doing business and investor-friendly environment.
The World Bank and University of California, Berkeley will collaborate with organisers EnergyNet to record an action plan during the conference with objectives for the next 20 years, to lay the foundations for future generations of energy users in Africa.