By Oke Peter
Since its launch in 1999 by EnergyNet Limited, an organization that facilitates investment conferences in the energy sector across the world, the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) has become the most sought-after global investment meeting for Africa’s power, energy, infrastructure, and industrial sectors. It is an annual power and gas investment and business forum, where governments and state utilities gather to address the international energy community on available opportunities in Africa’s power and gas sectors.
EnergyNet’s undertaking was to leverage the available energy investment opportunities across the rich cities of Africa by bringing together decision-makers and stakeholders in the continent’s energy sector to form partnerships, identify opportunities and collectively move the industry forward, hence the need to create a formidable platform that would cater for this purpose.
Interestingly, 25 years down the line, AEF has grown to become the most preferred energy meeting by international investors. The event has a loyal following of credible players working in the power space and a track record of delivering a valuable networking experience.
In 2017, EnergyNet won the second Queen Elizabeth II Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade (2017), the highest honour for United Kingdom commercial businesses. The award was made on the advice of United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, for EnergyNet’s ‘Outstanding short term growth and social responsibility agenda’ across Africa.
The award also recognized EnergyNet’s outstanding short-term growth within three years, as well as its social responsibility efforts in Africa and the £200,000 invested through the organization’s ‘Not Just Talking Fund’ into energy-related projects to aid the lives of Africans.
The Managing Director of EnergyNet, Simon Gosling, in his response, said: “It was incredible to be recognized by the Prime Minister and Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2014, but to also receive this award for a second time [by a different PM] this year is an extraordinary feat for us, and one which I hope reflects the seriousness with which EnergyNet team take our responsibilities to serve the world’s leading companies and the most exciting growing economies across the world.”
The programme has also sponsored 63 African students to date, working closely with African universities and partners Aggreko and Norton Rose Fulbright to provide onsite training workshops and meeting opportunities with African Ministers of Energy.
The 2019 edition also launched the Africa Challenge Cup – a football tournament in partnership with Kohler, Principal Partner of Manchester United, Kohler-SDMO, and Clarke Energy, raising £30,000 for victims of Cyclone Idai.
In another win, at the AEF’s 20th anniversary which took place in Mauritius in 2020, more than 1,600 delegates from across the world converged for four days of panel discussions and networking functions focused on Africa’s energy sector.
In recognition of this feat, EnergyNet was honoured with the ‘Organiser of the Year’ award from the event industry’s leading group, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO). The award, according to the organizer was in “Recognition of the outstanding commitment from the team in taking AEF to Mauritius in celebration of the event’s 20th anniversary.”
Commenting, EnergyNet’s Senior Operations Manager, Charlotte Wood-Dow said: “The operational complexity of delivering such a high-quality event to this scale with limited local event services and facilities on the island was a challenge. We had to be exceptionally resourceful whilst still keeping in mind our ethos of supporting local communities and being sustainable. It was a tough but extremely rewarding accomplishment that the team is very proud of.”
Simon Gosling, in his response, said: “It was incredible to be recognized by the Prime Minister and Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2014, but to also receive this award for a second time [by a different PM] this year is an extraordinary feat for us, and one which I hope reflects the seriousness with which EnergyNet team take our responsibilities to serve the world’s leading companies and the most exciting growing economies across the world.”
Interestingly, the winners of the Africa Solar Industry Association (AFSIA) Solar Awards 2020 were unveiled during a first-of-its-kind online event — The inaugural AFSIA Solar Awards, organized in partnership with the Africa Energy Forum (AEF), culminated in a grand show streamed online on 29th October. During the ceremony, the winners of 15 categories were unveiled and celebrated.
The dedicated team members have been working round the clock delivering first-class workshop agendas; hosting country-specific sessions highlighting the investment opportunities in Africa’s power, energy, and infrastructure spaces with the ultimate objective to keep Africa at the forefront of investors’ thinking and maintain momentum in Africa’s energy and electricity sectors.”
“Having this focus on public and private sector partnerships provides us a valuable lens through which we can offer independent perspectives and supports the business development activities of companies from around the world operating in these fast-growing markets. To support these insights, our team talks with stakeholders across Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean daily, so relationships and investor insights are both our business and our passion.”
Africa Energy Forum 2022
This year, AEF will take the conversation one step further from 21-24 June in Brussels. The summit will analyze the financing and investment strategies and deployment plans, through various interactive boardrooms such as: What does energy transition funding mean and how is it being deployed? How are commitments made by the development finance community at COP26 being channeled?; How are commercial financiers unleashing their financial power?; Competitive procurement and energy actions to deliver best investment and price outcomes – interactive boardroom; The proliferation of large-scale commercial and industrial auctions, and across multiple sites; Auctions for renewable energy and storage; Municipal and distribution company auctions; Auctions by traders, intermediary off-takers that sell onto the Southern African Power Pool or various utilities and C&I customers and Auctions for power pools and mobilizing capital: how accurately quantifying and mitigating political risk can facilitate investment for institutional and emerging market investors.
Additionally, it will examine the re-emergence of geopolitical risk and the impact on energy investors; Political risk insurance coverage, the availability of capacity and pricing for energy investors in Africa; Re-evaluating the benefits of political risk insurance using the Country risk investment model, and what this means for investors; How to optimize political risk insurance and leverage the benefits to facilitate greater investment; Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF); Hosted Interactive Boardroom by Southern African Power Pool SAPP; Constraints to financing regional inter-connectors; SAPP market unique characteristics; Economic benefits and contributions to energy transitions and Project structuring issues blended finance approaches, among others.