Experts on Energy and Africa Convene

Last year, hundreds of executives, policy makers and thought leaders from the private sector, national governments, non-government organizations, and academia from across the globe met at Colorado School of Mines in Golden Colorado (near Denver) for the Annual Energy Africa Conference to engage in a dialog, collaborate, encourage, invest in and support the work needed to supply clean, reliable and affordable energy in Africa.

The focus of the conference was on President Barack Obama’s recently announced “Power Africa” initiative, and how Africa can leverage the synergy between natural gas and renewable energy sources to meet the current and future energy demand and the business opportunities inherent in the effort.

Prominent speakers highlighted the need to establish an energy infrastructure that meets the energy demand in Africa to ensure the current economic growth is maintained or even enhanced and how the synergy between natural gas and renewables could be leveraged to meet this objective.

With the help of several examples, honorable Liberata Mulamula, Palan Mulonda and Jesca Eriyo emphasized the business and investment opportunities available in the Energy Sector in Africa. They cited many areas of collaboration including the private-public partnership and how the issues of investment constraints that had in the past plagued the continent have been removed to catalyze investment and growth. Michael Masserman focused on the role that the Power Africa initiative will play in enhancing energy development in Africa and the business opportunities that this initiative presents. Melvin Foote, the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Constituency on Africa stressed the importance of diaspora in the Energy infrastructure development in Africa. He also stressed that companies wanting to do business in Africa, need to take into consideration the thoughts, ideas and aspirations of the next generation, who will be reluctant to accept corrupt business practices of the past.

The Energy Africa conference was well received by participants. Hellen Kassa, with the Silicon Valley Technology Partners remarked, “Thank you so much for putting together such an amazing conference. I honestly learned so much and was impressed at the level of diversity not only in speakers and attendees but at the topics covered and the level of expertise each speaker possessed.” Leroy Wilson, a New York Attorney thanked the conference organizers for “doing an outstanding job!” Dr. Ogunlade Davidson echoed these observations, “This well organized event provided an excellent opportunity to meet our American friends working on the same issues and this should continue as that will contribute greatly towards providing sustainable energy for all in Africa.” Ambassador Irene Reichl remarked that “What made ‘Energy Africa’ very special for me is that it draws on the hands-on experience of many experts from the energy sector and this enriches the dialogue on energy and sustainable development in an important fashion.” Hon. Jesca Eriyo summed up her experience at the conference: “The Energy Africa conference brought together academicians, experts, practitioners, CEO/business persons, and African Diaspora in the Minerals, Petroleum/Oil and Gas, power sectors as well as students. It was really enriching to listen to and participate in a very lively discussion throughout the conference, and to notice the enormous interest in investing in the Energy sector in Africa.”

Conference chairman Fred Julander, President of Julander Energy, Conference Vice Chairman, David Posner, President of EnVent Energy and Conference Vice Chairman and the Conference Vice Chairman and founder , Dr. Luka Powanga, a professor at Regis University in Denver USA who operates a strategic consulting firm, “The Powanga Group,” were very pleased with the outcome of the conference. They noted that the conference highlighted the fact that Africa is clearly emerging and changing rapidly both in terms of economic growth and development and improved business environment. Said the organizers, “Business opportunities for American energy companies are abundant in all aspects of energy development on the continent. We are looking forward to playing a useful and pragmatic role in helping to build a strong US Africa energy partnership going forward!”

 

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