PAP pushes for intensified efforts in Africa’s energy sector
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has stressed the need for African countries to intensify their efforts to enable the continent’s citizens have access to constant and cost effective energy.
PAP’s Fourth President, Honourable Bernadette Lahai, made the call recently at the PAP in Midrand, South Africa, during a joint seminar on renewable energy for PAP’s committee on Transport, Industry, Communications, Energy, Sciences and Technology, and that of Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters.
“Every development related venture that Africa is implementing such as boosting trade among us or improve continental integration depends on a vibrant energy sector that is producing clean, safe and reliable energy,” observed Honourable Lahai.
The PAP Fourth Vice President emphasised the importance for PAP, through its committees, to continue setting up strong partnerships with players in the energy sector across the continent.
Before becoming PAP’s Fourth President, Honourable Lahai chaired the Committee on Transport, Industry, Communications, Energy, Sciences and Technology from 2012 to 2015.
She said between 2012 and 2015 PAP had established strong partnerships with the South Africa’s energy players such as the Department of Energy, the National Energy Regulator, the Nuclear Energy Regulator, the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and the private energy players.
“These partnerships culminated into various discussions on energy matters affecting Africa as well as field visits to energy plants and initiatives that South Africa is engaged in to improve its energy supply to the country,” Honourable Lahai stated.
The seminar for the two committees was organised by the Africa Business Group (ABG), a South African based African economic development consulting entity that was founded in 2005. ABG focuses on economic and business development, capacity development services, and project development and implementation of initiatives that are crucial to Africa’s economy such as business tourism, agribusiness, renewable energy and manufacturing.
The Group facilitates increased involvement of Africa’s private sector in economic development activities through public-private collaboration and partnership.
After the seminar ABG took the members of the two committees on a field visit to physically appreciate renewable energy efforts that both the South African Government and the country’s private sector were implementing as supplementary energy options to traditional energy generation.
Earlier before embarking on the field visit, ABG Chief Executive Officer, Michael Sudarkas, informed the committee members that the meeting and the tour were organised against the background that most African countries were still struggling with access to electrification.
“Electricity is like air to any enterprise and if you don’t have access to consistent, optimally low cost electricity you cannot be competitive in terms of global economy,” he said.
Sudarkasa applauded South Africa’s renewable energy efforts which, he said, had attracted an investment of over 11 billion US dollars, skills in engineering but also setting up of a number of policy, research and commercialisation institutions.
He emphasised the need for partnerships between public institutions like PAP, African parliaments and governments on one hand and the private energy players on the continent on the other in achieving Africa’s energy goals.
“PAP can play a very crucial bridge building role between the industry and the governments across the continent. There is tremendous potential for a vibrant partnership to develop among PAP, African governments and the energy players in Africa,” Sudarkas noted.
In 2014, the ABG set up the African Renewable Energy Regional Centre of Excellence to facilitate knowledge, technology, skills development and joint research involving energy institutions in South Africa and other African countries that were seeking to develop their renewable energy sectors. Since its inception over a decade ago, ABG has implemented about 10 energy related initiatives involving energy players across the continent.