South Africa, Ghana and Zambia, Africa’s biggest electricity exporters

South Africa, Ghana and Zambia, Africa’s biggest electricity exporters

South Africa, Ghana and Zambia are the continent’s biggest exporters, according to US-based PenWell Corporation.

But the three countries, like many of their counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa, are still besieged by power shortages, due to lack of investment, outdated infrastructure and technology, lack of reforms in the sector, corruption and weak policies.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the potential of producing 1750 Twh of energy, but only 7% of which has been explored. The region only generates 47 MW of electricity, which represents less than 0.6% of the world’s global market share. With its plentiful energy reserves – 8% of the world’s proven gas reserves and 10% of the world’s oil and 13% of hydro-electric potential – Africa is still very much a market of untapped opportunities for electricity, according to experts.

Demand for electrical transmission and distribution infrastructure, and equipment is set to increase significantly, as the global economy recovers, according to industry watchers, DistribuTech said. Electricity consumption is expected to grow at a rate of 3.4% per year up until 2020, forecasters say.

Now, there is a call for dialogue to advance the stagnant Africa’s power infrastructure.

Dr Willem de Beer, newly appointed chair of the advisory board of DistribuTECH Africa, said: “It is widely acknowledged that a reliable and sustainable electricity supply infrastructure is critical to ensure, among others, economic growth, business sustainability and job creation.  Africa presents various business opportunities within the electricity generation, transmission and distribution sector.”

De Beer cited South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania as few examples of countries where significant infrastructure investment is due to take place over the next few years.

DistribuTech is a well-recognised brand in the power transmission and distribution (T&D) industry. DistribuTECH Africa will host a conference and exhibition on 30 October-1 November 2013 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

DistribuTECH Africa 2013 will bring African nations together to share experiences and to explore solutions regarding the potential to be a prime mover in developing smart energy systems from scratch. Sector leaders, planners, technical experts, suppliers, investors, regulators and policy makers will discuss how corrective measures can be implemented to achieve more reliable, efficient and secure power supplies in the years to come.

Therefore, the conference is calling for potential speakers to submit an abstract based on one of the 60 strategic and technical topics which include:

  • Smart Grids
  • Smart Metering,
  • Asset Management and Securing Revenue.

These topics will fall under four broad headings: power and water delivery, metering, system automation and system operation, the organisers said.  Under the theme “Equipping Utilities for the Future”, DistribuTECH Africa will seek to accelerate improvements through more intense and systematic knowledge sharing, and supporting partnerships between operators.

Abstracts should be submitted online at for consideration by the advisory board of DistribuTECH Africa by Friday 8 February 2013.

*Photo by Transmission power lines in South Africa.

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