Africa Energy Indaba 2024: ‘We must ensure that we address energy poverty’

The Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe. Photo: Ronnie Mamoepa

The Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe. Photo: Ronnie Mamoepa

Published Mar 6, 2024


Cape Town - Amid the need for African nations to invest in gas infrastructure, including expansion of pipelines, the 16th edition of the Africa Energy Indaba kicked off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Tuesday.

Convened under the theme, “African Energy Transitioning from Aspiration to Action – Delivering a Sustainable and Prosperous Future”, the 3-day event is attended by more than 350 African and Global CEOs, with the interests of more than 37 African countries represented.

The Indaba is a dynamic showcase of energy technologies, innovations, and solutions shaping Africa’s energy landscape, while exhibitors will spotlight cutting-edge technologies, projects and initiatives driving the continent’s renewable energy transition.

“The conference provides a unique platform for participants to explore investment opportunities, financing mechanisms, and partnership models,” said Qondakuhle Dwangu, AEI’s communications manager.

“Project developers, financiers, investors and stakeholders will connect, collaborate, and catalyse investment in Africa’s energy sector.

“A significant focus will be on the development of renewable energy projects across the continent.”

Opening the Indaba, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said Africa was blessed with a plethora of natural resources, of which significant quantities were needed for a just energy transition.

This is because uranium could be used in various nuclear applications, including the generation of clean baseload energy, and nuclear research reactors for medical purposes.

Given the increase in global liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand and supply, it was critical for the SA Development Community to invest in the development of the upstream petroleum industry and place itself as a key player in the supply of these critical resources, Mantashe said.

“Notwithstanding challenges and the persistent threats to the development of the South African Upstream Petroleum Industry by foreign-funded lobby groups, South Africa has made significant new finds of natural gas.

“The discovery of gas by TotalEnergies in the Outeniqua Basin, and the discovery of maiden gas reserves by Kinetiko Energy in Amersfoort, Mpumalanga, are strategically placed to strengthen South Africa’s energy security and propel the quest for industrialisation that will bring about growth and development.

“Namibia’s accelerated exploration programme has not only led to discoveries of oil and associate gas but has increased its potential to double its country’s Gross Domestic Product by 2040.”

In its 72nd edition of the Statistical Review of World Energy, Mantashe noted the Energy Institute recognised that fossil fuel consumption as a percentage of primary energy remained steady at 82%, while renewables shared of primary energy consumption reached 7.5% in 2022.

In the same year, the EU taxonomy declared both nuclear and gas as sustainable and part of transitional activities. It was therefore crucial for African nations to invest in gas infrastructure, including expansion of pipelines, Mantashe said.

“It is in this context that iGas, a subsidiary of the Central Energy Fund (CEF), acquired an additional 40% ownership of the Rompco pipeline, resulting in both South Africa and Mozambique jointly owning 80% of it.

“Having noted this eventuality, we, together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), have established a task team that includes private sector players to develop a joint strategy that will ensure a seamless transition and business continuity, thus ameliorating potential job losses. The DMRE has also completed all the modelling and drafting work for the country’s Gas Master Plan, which we intend to present to the Cabinet this month.”

Cape Argus