EU facilitates Attendance of Private Sector to Africa Energy Indaba

The race to address the energy deficit of Eswatini by 2025 is increasingly gaining momentum. The private sector – Business Eswatini in particular, is actively involved in the energy conversation and is buoyed in large part by the EU which has been assisting in building capacity within the ranks of the private sector.

This is exemplified by the EU office which, through their implementing partners in GIZ and GET.invest, had convened the biggest renewable energy conference to be held in the country in November 2023.

As a result, small-scale renewable energy projects around the country which were fragmented got the opportunity to be streamlined and capacitated in readiness for future implementation. This time around the EU decided to take the energy conversation to the next level by facilitating the attendance and participation of Eswatini’s private sector players in the Africa Energy Indaba which was held from the 5th to 6th March in Cape Town.

This Indaba is arguably the biggest platform for renewable energy projects and a melting pot of innovative ideas at least in the SADC region. The theme of the conference sought to galvanize and spur energy solutions for Africa which is increasingly disproportionately energy-starved against the backdrop of rising demand by business and domestic users.

The Eswatini private sector delegation was drawn from various sectors of the renewable energy space and comprised of active industry players, energy associations, and frontline facilitators like Business Eswatini.

“Business Eswatini and our partners, especially the EU, have been at the forefront in pushing for innovative sector solutions to the energy situation in the country”, said BE CEO E. Nathi Dlamini.

He further stated that most, if not all, of the energy industry players in attendance at the Indaba are members of Business Eswatini. He then said it would be remiss of him if he did not convey BE’s special thanks to the EU, and GIZ and GET.invest in particular, who sponsored the trip and further ensured that the participants were well-balanced both in terms of sector and gender representation.

The CEO acknowledged that had it not been for the assistance of the EU, most of the members who attended the conference would not have been able to do so. He said the EU is passionate about collaboration when it comes to renewables and said their passion was commensurate with BE’s lofty aspirational objectives for the sector.

The conference equipped participants with the latest innovations on the renewable energy front and the various financing models and avenues available to potential investors. It also provided ample opportunities for B2B engagements on its fringes in which bilateral deals could be struck.

Eswatini has had an energy deficit for decades which means that the country has had to import the bulk of its electricity supply from other countries, and elsewhere in the region.

The CEO revealed that in the worst of times, the country could easily import over 80% of its energy requirements to meet the national base load. He said that electricity imports cost the country an arm and a leg, and decried the foreign exchange implications on the country.

He remarked saying: “Whilst we are generally comfortable with the plans in the pipeline by EEC, it is however crucial that the private sector plays its role when it comes to the supply of electricity and this could be by way of IPPPs (or Independent Power Producers).”

“It is fortuitous that there is a slew of projects in the pipeline by independent power producers under the BE Stable – and we hope that they will find favor with the regulator (ESERA) and the incumbent supplier which is EEC, who owns the transmission and distribution infrastructure in the country “, he added.

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