* Akwaaba! Etesen?
The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, but there are days, it just feels as if it is shining constantly above our heads, boosting us with its energy! Excitement should we say? Of course we should be excited. We could even say it is an understatement. We are E-la-ted! How could it not be? Your favourite blog (Please behave! Say yes) has become a media partner of the Clean Energy Summit: Africa, 4-5 April 2017, Ghana…Thanks for the applause.
It is a great privilege to be associated to this fantastic event and it is clearly a sign of greater things to come.
In a previous article, clean energy conferences were cited as an evidence that the momentum in green energy is building up in Africa and this conference perfectly illustrates the point. In case you’ve have not done so already, I would like to give 10 good reasons as to why you should seriously consider attending the summit.
- 1 – Ghana: country of Panafricanism and a leader in Cleantech
My first reason is simply Ghana, period! This country, one of the first to gain independence on the continent in 1957, is a remarkable land that has accomplished an impressive journey so far. The country of Kwame Nkrumah, is a beacon for democracy and one that is setting up standards for good governance and healthy business environment. To witness how Clean Energy could thrive and prosper in Africa, this is certainly a good place to start for the Afrocentric. Not mentioning the other assets the country has (Azonto dance, yes! But there is moreJ).
- 2 – High Calibre Speakers
Similarly to a mega concert lining up great international and local artists for aficionados, the conference has assembled a terrific list of high calibre speakers: from governments and ECOWAS officials, to global and local developers and investors, without forgetting high potential SMEs and startups. Let us clear the doubts here, you will not get bored. In fact, quite the opposite, you will be spoiled with excess. So get ready!
- 3 – ECOWAS keynote energy policy updates
If you are a developer or an investor, you are probably hearing all the time people like me reaffirming how important and crucial it is to be familiar with the political landscape and energy policies that are in vigour in countries that you are targeting. Well, the good news is, during these two days, you will hear from and engage with almost all the ECOWAS governments and certainly the main markets. To single out a couple of them, it would be interesting for example to get a better understanding of the renewable energy strategy in Ghana post-election or figuring out how the much-anticipated Nigerian (big) market is emerging. Getting the information ahead of the pack could provide a competitive advantage and a step ahead in the race for gaining market shares.
- 4 – Better understanding of regional multilateral institutions
ECOWAS is one the best functioning bloc of the continent and so far, the only one that has established a centre of excellence for renewable energy and energy efficiency, ECREEE. The centre plays a vital role in advising policymakers, together with other institutions like the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (CIC) or local representations of international bodies such as the World Energy Council. They will be all attending.
- 5 – Overview of the decentralised energy approach
For the Clean Energy enthusiast, eager to contribute to the electrification of Africa and reaching the 2030 Sustainable for All (SEforALL) objectives, you are increasingly hearing about the decentralized energy approach to fast track electricity coverage access. You will be pleased to know that the ENGIE CEO will be running a session explaining the global shift from central to decentralised energy and more importantly how it will affect the African customer.
- 6 – Panel discussions with global financiers and investors
One of the biggest challenges, if not the major obstacle for business owners and project bearers in Africa is to raise capital funds. So how much value would you associate to a forum of this magnitude with no financiers or investors? Probably not a lot, but rest assured the conference will not suffer from this bad publicity. Throughout the 2 days, there are numerous opportunities to attend presentations and panel discussions with delegates from finance and capital markets. Global institutions such as the World Bank Group, IFC and private firms like Allianz or Bloomberg will fill you with lots of information on how to better mitigate risks and access finance in the cleantech industry.
- 7 – Workshop for ECOWAS Cleantech startups
Africa is a land full of promises, and in certain areas an almost virgin territory. At the start of mobile telephony market, very few experts (the Brexit & Trump precursors?) would have predicted the fairytale success that has been experienced. With the privilege of hindsight, it can be explained by multiple factors and one is opportunities it has provided to the young and dynamic African population to embark into entrepreneurial ventures from mobile phone booths to mobile applications for businesses. Learning from this success, the conference is doing something unique in organising a workshop for innovative startups. To my entrepreneur brothers and sisters, this is really not the time to stay home to watch The Apprentice.
- 8 – Fantastic networking opportunities
The venue and the vicinity will be buzzing the entire time and for any professional attending, there will be innumerable opportunities to meet and network with high-growth businesses and peers. And who knows your next deal or position could be hanging at the end of a random conversation, drinking beer and enjoying jollof rice.
- 9 – Emphasis on Women Role in African power
Women’s International Day was only few days ago but it could not stressed enough how important it is for women to play their full part in the quest to solve Africa power supply challenges. To echo the former first Lady Michelle Obama, the world could not afford to ignore half of its workforce if it is to tackle its most serious issues. This is certainly true for Africa, if not more so. The Women in African Power theme at the summit will explore how to encourage more women in the industry and revolutionise the sector with clean and decentralised power.
- 10 – Future technology products and services
My final reason would be directed at technology savvy people. The solar industry has been propelled into another level with the declining manufacturing and installations costs, coupled with technology improvements. From global consensus, the cleantech industry is at the cusp of other breakthrough products in energy storage, Electric Vehicles (EVs), IT, big data and services to only name a few, and all these topics will get discussed.
I thought very hard about giving you a bonus reason which would the opportunity to attend the session I will be running on how to increase the Renewable Energy take-up in Africa but I was afraid you’ll take the chance to turn it down just to tease me!
The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, but there are days, it just feels as if it is shining constantly above our heads … That’s normal folks, it is just the African Sun and you are simply feeling its POWER!
See you in Accra!!
* Akwaaba! Etesen?: “Welcome! How are you?” in Twi, one of the most prevailing languages, spoken by the Ashanti.
10 good reasons not the miss the Clean Energy Summit Africa:
- Ghana: country of Panafricanism and a leader in Cleantech
- High Calibre Speakers
- ECOWAS keynote energy policy updates
- Better understanding of regional multilateral institutions
- Overview of the decentralised energy approach
- Panel discussions with global financiers and investors
- Workshop for ECOWAS Cleantech start-ups
- Fantastic networking opportunities
- Emphasis on Women Role in African power
- Future technology products and services