July 3, 2024

SADC Participates at the 26th Africa Energy Forum-2024 from 25 to 28 June 2024 in Barcelona, Spain

The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community, His Excellency Mr. Elias M. Magosi, from 25 to 28 June 2024, participated at the 26th Africa Energy Forum (AEF) – 2024, in Barcelona, Spain.  The Forum, convened under the theme: “Energy Systems of the Future – Balancing Africa's Needs with Global Goals” was aimed at facilitating discussions on transformative change and opportunities in the energy landscape. 

The Forum, which brought together close to 90 countries around the world, including some SADC Member States, namely: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia; and Zimbabwe, showcased exhibitions, ranging from energy technology manufacturers and developers; Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies; power utilities and projects developers; Multilateral Development Banks; Development Finance Institutions (DFIs); Fund Managers; and Commercial Banks from different parts of the World.

In the main AEF-2014 deliberations, H.E. Magosi participated in the side event that was jointly organised by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), and the Climate Fund Managers (CFM), as the designated Fund Managers for the Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF). The event, which was attended by some Cooperating Partners, including the African Development Bank, took stock of progress and ongoing resource mobilisation efforts for the operationalisation of the RTIFF. The RTIFF was approved by the SADC Council of Ministers in March 2023, to be established and operationalised through SAPP, with support of the Cooperating Partners; the Private Sector; and other interested investors, following recommendations by the Committees of Ministers responsible for Energy and the Ministers of Finance and Investment respectively. RTIFF is one of the innovative mechanisms created to leverage support from the national, regional, and international Cooperating Partners to support development of backlog of transmission interconnector projects to enable intra-regional trading power, facilitate evacuation of power from new power stations to the load centres, and relieve congestion from the existing transmission infrastructure.

In his remarks, H.E Mr. Magosi highlighted the importance of the Energy sector in regional integration, adding that development and financing of energy infrastructure remains one of the major challenges in the region. He underscored the need for CFM and SAPP to ensure that activities related to the establishment of the RTIFF are accelerated, further appreciating the meeting for offering an opportunity to understand how best the RTIFF can be designed to meet the needs of the SADC region.

The SADC delegation led by the SADC Executive Secretary, participated in several sessions, including the one focusing on the Advancement of Gas projects and keeping Gas bankable in Africa, where it was emphasised that gas should be included in the continental energy mix to address energy poverty, increasing population and increasing energy needs.  The session concluded that gas in a form of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) should be promoted as clean cooking fuel to reduce over-dependence on biomass, such as charcoal and fuelwood, to reduce deforestation, considering that approximately 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity.  It was further concluded that the concept on Just Energy Transition (JET) in Africa should consider addressing energy access before considering shutting down fossil fuel-based energy supply facilities. 

The Executive Secretary and some SADC Member States further participated at a side event organised by the United Kingdom Department of Business and Trade, where major Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) companies based or originating in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland presented their capability in development and construction of energy infrastructure projects. In their messages, the Ministers of Energy from Malawi and Madagascar as well Senior Officials from Eswatini, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, emphasised that key challenges are low access to energy coupled by insufficient power supply. 

In his intervention, the Executive Secretary reiterated that supply of reliable energy is key for industrialisation, mineral beneficiation and upliftment of livelihoods of SADC citizens. He also appealed to the UK based EPC companies, and the Department of Business and Trade of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland to support the Region and provide financial resources for energy infrastructure projects.  He further expressed that the SADC Secretariat will support Member States to review their regulatory environment to meet the conditions to access funding, unlock private sector funding, and de-risk capital investment.  He also shared a brochure comprising some key priority energy infrastructure projects that Cooperation Partners and EPC companies were encouraged to consider supporting. 

Finally, H.E. Mr. Magosi presented the SADC position at a High-level Roundtable on the Regional Collaboration to Streamline Energy Integration, Access and Transition Across the Continent. In his interventions, ES:

  1. presented the lessons from development and coordination of the Lobito Corridor in promotion of domestic and cross-border trade, value chains, as well as market access and business linkages along the corridor. The plan is to promote of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on local value-addition in the production of vehicle batteries as well as development of power projects along the Corridor; 

  2. outlined how SADC coordinate and support Member States to reach consensus on issues of regional integration and development such as opening of markets for intra-regional trading on energy products and services for the benefit of SADC citizens; 

  3. illustrated how SADC is prioritising development or enhancement of interconnectors to facilitate cross-border electricity trading through bilateral arrangements and the SAPP competitive market platforms; and 

  4. highlighted identified challenges and risks associated with cross-border energy projects and appealed to the Cooperating Partners, DFIs and MDBs to consider supporting their development.

The deliberations at the AEF 2024, were arranged and moderated through exclusive roundtable sessions focusing on the energy transition, latest technology innovations and advancements impacting the energy sector, as well as bilateral engagements with the Multilateral Development Banks, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Agencies of the Cooperating Partners, with interest in the energy and mining sectors.  The African countries including SADC Member States, the Secretariats of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), including SADC, COMESA and EAC, were represented at executive management level, as well as their subsidiary institutions.

The SADC Secretariat delegation also participated in individual SADC Member States dedicated sessions, where they invited investors and Cooperating Partners to support their national energy programmes and projects, aimed at increasing access to electricity and enhancing security of energy supply.  At regional level, SAPP member utilities and the Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern African (RERA) member regulators were in attendance. 

The African Energy Forum events have been held in different parts of the World, and on the African continent on rotational basis, aimed at creating a platform for African countries to meet investors interested in the Energy sector in Africa. As for 2024, the organisers, Energynet Limited selected Spain as it is perceived to be a strategic priority investment destination. Spain is also a very active member of the African Development Bank (AfDB), and in April 2023 committed to invest over 2 billion Euros to support South Africa to achieve energy transition objectives. In Africa, the event was last organised in Port Louis, Mauritius in 2018; and Nairobi, Kenya in 2023; and the next forum will be organised in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2025, where SADC Member States are expected to participate in numbers. 

The SADC Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Director- Infrastructure, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena; Senior Programme Officer-Energy, Mr. Moses Ntlamelle; and Ms. Kelejwang Moichubedi, Executive Assistant to the Executive Secretary. The Secretariat Team was complimented by the Chief Executive of SAPP Eng. Stephen Dihwa and Chief Executive of RERA, Mr. Elijah Sichone and their teams.