EEP Africa hosted its 8th Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) on 28 March in Johannesburg, South Africa. The theme for this KEF was Productive Use and Drivers for Renewable Energy Uptake in the SADC Region.
EEP Africa promotes knowledge sharing through semi-annual Knowledge Exchange Forums. The event targets EEP Africa-supported project developers and other stakeholders in the sector. The main aim is encouraging practitioners in the sector to share experiences, brainstorm solutions, and build their networks. Close to 100 participants engaged in the Johannesburg KEF, making it a dynamic and productive day.
The full-day programme included speakers, panels, and roundtable discussions. The event was opened by Dr Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), who was speaking on behalf of the South African Department of Energy. The strategic vision of EEP Africa was outlined by Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), which contributes to and hosts the trust fund. The keynote address was given by Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator of Power Africa, who reflected on developments in the sector and challenges going forward.
“EEP Africa has had a large impact in South Africa in terms of access to energy, waste management, job creation and SMME development. They have stepped in to the gap of financing small-scale independent power producers in this country.” -Dr. Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of SANEDI
Key Finding from the SADC Status Report on Renewable Energy were presented by Karin Reiss of SACREEEE. This was followed by a panel of EEP Africa National Focal Points from the region, who provided perspectives on how their own countries are supporting the promotion of private sector engagement in the energy sector and the policies that are being put in place to drive renewable energy uptake, both for electricity and clean cooking.
“The Nordic Development Fund is financing sustainable and low carbon economies. EEP Africa is a key programme for us to support innovative entrepreneurs on the ground that are driving the development of local green and inclusive economies.” -Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager at NDF
Each KEF includes “Communities of Knowledge” roundtables, which are a valuable opportunity for participants to share their own successes and challenges. Participants determine the direction of the discussions and tap into the expertise around the table to address barriers that they are facing.
The discussions on promoting the productive use of energy highlighted the role of the energy service provider in identifying the potential for productive use, offering energy efficient appliances for existing productive activities, and developing partnerships to facilitate end users in accessing markets to sell their products. However, the extent to which companies need to engage in building these value chains was debated.
EEP Africa looks forward to hosting the next KEF in the second half of 2019.