Nigerian Energy: Our focus is finding home-grown solutions to African challenges
Ahead of the 10th, Nigerian Energy, Afrah Packirsaibo discussed with KINGSLEY JEREMIAH, key issues in the energy sector in Nigeria and solutions being canvassed through the Nigerian Energy conference and exhibition in the last one decade.
So, 10 years into the game in Nigeria, what is your take on electrifying Nigeria?
We are in a prime position to accelerate toward electrification and implement easy-to implement solutions, such as mini grids and plug-and-play solutions. The sector is poised for rapid change in the next five years, and that’s the focus of the summit.
You also operate in key African countries, like Egypt. Have you seen a genuine interest in solving the world’s energy problems beyond just conversation?
Our role as a business is to connect game changers, bridging the gap between those with funding, like DFIs, and projects ready to scale up. Across our events, including Nigeria Energy, I do observe changes happening.
Commitments and actions are announced during these meetings and interactions.
What informed the choice of topics for this year’s summit?
The topics were determined by our Advisory Board, which comprises stakeholders from across the value chain, primarily in Nigeria. We have given equal importance to gas and non-conventional sources, but all discussions work towards the common goal of electrification.
How do you choose speakers for the conference, and what can participants expect from the quality of speakers?
Our agenda reflects key decision-makers in the sector, including top government officials, regulators, genkos, and discos. Both speakers and attendees are high-level stakeholders driving the sector forward.
You mentioned having about 50 investors at the conference. How long did it take to convince them, and what level of interest do they have in Nigeria?
Convincing investors was relatively straightforward because they are interested and have funding. They are eager to know what’s next. Our Investor Club spans all our events, and it’s not just about Nigeria; it includes Dubai, Kigali, and Egypt. We connect pre-qualified projects with investors, ensuring their time spent is valuable.
Can you tell us more about the exhibitors and participants at the event?
We expect over 350 high-level attendees at the summit, including key decision-makers. The wider exhibition, which includes buyers, dealers, distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers, and exhibitors, could have around 2,000 to 3,000 participants. The summit itself gathers those driving the sector forward.
Your focus on training and capacity building is unique. What prompted this initiative, and what have you achieved with it over the years?
We’ve been committed to capacity building for the past 10 years, and it’s integral to the summit’s mission. This initiative came from stakeholders who emphasized its importance. We collaborate with organizations like the National Power Institute to offer workshops on critical topics, ensuring knowledge transfer even to those unable to attend the summit.
At this critical time, with Nigeria transitioning to a new government and facing energy challenges, what advice do you have for Nigeria, Africa, and the world regarding the energy issue?
Our focus is on finding African solutions for African challenges. Priorities include universal electrification, energy access, and sustainability of the power sector. Each region may require customized approaches to achieve these goals, but there’s room for both renewable energy and gas to play crucial roles.
What can we expect from Informa in 2024, 2025, and 2026? What’s your outlook for the future?
In the coming years, Informa is hosting the Africa Energy Expo in Rwanda, bringing together stakeholders from across Africa, including Nigeria. This event aims to shape the conversation for the future, building on the outcomes of discussions in September. Our ambition is to make a lasting impact in addressing energy challenges.
Looking through your profile, the bulk of what I see as sponsors primarily comes from renewable and generator sellers. Most of the conventional energy companies are not here. Why is that so?
These locals that you see here are actually part of the wider exhibition. In terms of sponsors, we do have Skipper and another organization involved. I’m not sure why some conventional energy companies didn’t participate, but they are represented on the agenda. For example, we have Shell as part of our guest panel session. While we didn’t focus extensively on gas pipelines or petroleum conventional sources, we did mention them in the context of the energy mix. There’s no specific reason for the absence of oil and gas companies; it’s more about the priorities set by the Advisory Board, which leaned towards government and regulators this year.
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