Published On: 01/11/2017

Dubai, UAE: Access to power remains one of Africa’s major developmental challenges as high tariffs, poor infrastructure and a lack of transparency continue to limit growth and progress within the continent’s energy sector, industry experts revealed during a panel session at the 4th Global Business Forum on Africa on Wednesday.

The session, entitled “Access To Power, Leveraging the Energy Transition”, involved the participation of Andrew Alli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Africa Finance Corporation, Nigeria; Tony Nyagah, Chief Executive Officer, Strauss Energy, Kenya; and Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access Power, UAE.

“Two-thirds of the [African] population don’t have access to the grid. The prices they pay for energy, in the form of kerosene for oil lamps and generators, can be 100 times higher than in Europe. Digitisation, especially access to mobile phones, may have moved the continent forward, but access to power is still a huge problem in Africa,” said Alli.

Asked whether renewables would dominate the future of energy in Africa, Nyagah, explained that solar would be a huge resource as it’s inherently scalable. The high cost of entry to solar, on a large scale, could be off-putting, he pointed out, adding that investment in solar would pay off in the long term.

El Chaar, stated that the supply and demand gap in Africa presented many opportunities, especially in traditional power supply which, he argued, could still provide power at reasonable prices. He lauded Dubai’s experience in tendering for energy and said African companies can benefit from its example.

Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting the 4th Global Business Forum on Africa in Dubai on November 1st and 2nd, 2017.

The two-forum, held under the theme “Next Generation Africa”, explores opportunities to increase cooperation and strengthen trade and investment ties between the Middle East and the African continent.

The Global Business Forum series, launched by Dubai Chamber in 2013, focuses on Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America. To date, the series has hosted 10 heads of state, 74 ministers and dignitaries, and 5,400 executives, as well as a host of influential decision makers from 65 countries around the world.