Leading African Figures discuss the need to Digitalise, Decentralise, Decarbonise the African Energy Sector


Leading figures and global experts within the African energy sector convened at the 2018 Africa Energy Leaders Dialogue for debate on the key issues keeping Africa’s energy leaders awake at night. Discussions focused on energy sector innovations in Africa and exploring near and long-term prospects for technological advancements such as blockchain, where decentralisation and digitalisation plays a more prominent role within the continent. A few points about the need to decarbonise, decentralise and digitalise the energy sector are included below:


There is a need to strike the right balance in our pursuit of a lower carbon future. Highly subsidised tariffs make it difficult to switch to new zero emissions technologies. Each country in Africa can use their competitive advantage to move towards energy security with a diverse energy mix that addresses all aspects of the Energy Trilemma: 1. Energy Security 2. Energy Equity 3. Environmental Sustainability.


Decentralised energy sites can play a big role to increase access, especially to marginalised communities. Regional energy integration and interconnectivity efforts have been made but progress is still slow. New business models for rural energy access are starting to emerge for standalone systems as well as the extension of existing utilities. Solutions should be well-matched to the customer needs and can vary in size (decentralised does not need to mean ‘small’). It can be a combination of on/off grid solutions, minigrids and hybrids.


Adoption of digitalisation and energy transition in Africa has been slow, but can leapfrog development across sectors. The discussion included some inspiring examples from Africa that successfully combine innovative approaches to data, finance and renewables. Advancements, such as energy storage, off-grid technologies, smart grids, renewables, clean coal and nuclear energy all allow for new opportunities of investment and development, as well as achieving SDGs.

Topics and insights from Energy Leaders’ Dialogue are used to form the foundation of the critical themes for the upcoming 2019 Africa Energy Indaba. The 2019 overarching event theme is “Africa’s Energy Future”. Join us as we explore these topics further at the 2-day event on 19-20 February 2019.

About Africa Energy Indaba

The Africa Energy Indaba is Africa’s premier energy conference dedicated to driving energy investment, trade, and innovation across the continent. Held annually, the event brings together industry leaders, policymakers, investors, and stakeholders to discuss key issues, explore opportunities, and shape Africa’s energy future.

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Qondakuhle Dwangu
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