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African Utility Week to Showcase Continent’s Business Openings

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African Utility Week to Showcase Continent’s Business Openings

African Utility Week to Showcase Continent’s Business Openings

By Dipo Olowookere

The award-winning African Utility Week, taking place from May 16-18, 2017, in Cape Town, will showcase how the continent is coming up with innovative, home-grown solutions to its energy and water challenges and how these are creating exciting and lucrative opportunities for utilities and industry suppliers alike.

Experts from respected partners in the industry such as the World Bank, KPMG, Power Africa, Huawei, GE, Shell, SAP and leading African utilities will head up the more than 7000 power and water professionals from more than 80 countries, including 30 African nations, who will gather for African Utility Week.

But this year also kick-starts a specific focus on a new trend in the industry: namely smaller, community scale off-grid projects that are starting to make a real difference in the development of the continent.

“The power and energy landscape in Africa is undergoing significant change” says Evan Schiff, African Utility Week event director, adding that current trends include “the availability of private investment for power and energy projects, the fast development of energy storage, renewable energy is becoming cheaper, gas that is an increasingly attractive  mode of power generation in Africa, and that in the next 10 years, nuclear will become an increasingly important mode of base-load power generation.”

The investment, trade and development opportunities in the sub-Saharan African electricity sector are estimated at $835 billion of capital investment, $490 billion for generation capacity and $345 billion for infrastructure.

Community scale projects are another important emerging trend in the sector. “Utility-scale developments are decreasing,” says Ahmed Jaffer, Chairman of KPMG in South Africa and the Head of Power and Utilities, “while we see a lot more of community-sized generation projects. Businesses and communities are also showing interest in becoming less dependent on the national grids.

“In rural Africa, especially, the economics of expanding the national grids do not make sense; hence there is a significant trend towards mini-grids and other off-grid solutions.”

Alongside the long-running African Utility Week, a new platform for community scale projects, Energy Revolution Africa, will be launched in May this year.

Energy Revolution Africa will provide a unique forum for solution providers to meet with the new energy purchasers such as metros and municipalities, IPPs, rural electrification project developers and large power users, including mines, commercial property developers and industrial manufacturers. The latest innovations and projects in the sectors of renewables, future technology, energy efficiency, micro/off-grid and energy storage will be showcased.

Speaker highlights at African Utility Week include Lionel Zinsou, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin, member of the West African Energy Leaders Group and investment banker; Matshela Koko, Acting CEO, Eskom, South Africa; Lazarus Angbazo, President and CEO of GE Energy Connections SSA; James Stewart, Global Head of Major Projects (Power and Utilities), KPMG; Bob Lockhart, Vice President of Cyber Security of the Utilities Technology Council; Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director for Africa, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USA; Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and Lucio Monari, Sector Manager for Africa Energy Group, World Bank.

The 17th annual African Utility Week is the leading conference and trade exhibition for African power, energy and water professionals who will have the opportunity to meet over 300 suppliers of services and technology to the industry.

The expo includes a record number of country pavilions, including from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa, China, Czech Republic, Taiwan and India.

Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions the event also boasts a five track conference with over 300 expert speakers.

The conference programme will once again address the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors: ranging from generation, T&D, metering, technology and water.

The African Utility Week expo offers an extensive technical workshop programme that are CPD accredited, free to attend, hands-on presentations that take place in defined spaces on the exhibition floor. They discuss practical, day-to-day technical topics, best practices and product solutions that businesses, large power users and utilities can implement in their daily operations.

More side events as part of the African Utility Week platform include:

African Power Finance & Investment Forum: Financiers and project owners will hear from expert speakers who will identify the key trends impacting project finance in regional energy markets with updates on and insights into market opportunities, sources of capital, financing instruments and access to project finance. A featured session on regional power integration will explore new methods of developing cross-border power projects on a PPP basis, explore the opportunities for investors, and show how regional power integration can substantially save capital investment costs.

The Gas-to-Power World Congress reflects the continuing transformation of the energy ecosystem in Africa and beyond. Gas and renewables are perfect partners to help address an array of future energy challenges, including climate change, energy security and energy finance, currently three of the world’s largest and most important challenges. The event will look at new business and investment opportunities in gas-to-power, energy infrastructure, FSRU, LPG and LNG.

The Utility CEO Forum is held as a 3-day by invitation only board meeting alongside African Utility Week, where the men and women who lead and guide Africa’s power and water sectors discuss the path of transformation. Discussions centre on areas of co-operation, development plans and the advancement of regional centres of excellence throughout Africa.

The Nuclear Power Africa Conference features expert speakers who will address the myths and realities, latest technologies, regulatory and financing challenges and the economic spin offs created by a nuclear new build programme. Nuclear stakeholders and prospective suppliers will gain first hand insights into prospects for new jobs, training programmes, and the business opportunities created by the localisation of the supply chain of a nuclear new build.

The fourth edition of the African Utility Week Power Industry Awards brings together 800 of Africa’s most renowned power and water industry professionals. The Power Industry Awards is the leading gathering to recognise, reward and celebrate the successes of Africa’s power and water sectors during 2016/17.

Africa Utilities Technology Council: Telecommunications/ICT conference track programme to be presented that will cover topics such as: IT/OT convergence, IP networks and utility telecoms network performance measures. The AUTC content will continue in three dedicated sessions – one each in the T&D, Metering and Water tracks of the main strategic conference.

Site visits – these capture practical insights and demonstrate real world case studies of innovative technology combined with a unique experience of South African hospitality. Locations include the Bokpoort CSP plant, Eskom Sterrekus substation, Biomimicry Genius of Space project in Langrug, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, Africa’s only nuclear power plant and a tour of Cape companies that are shining examples with regards to renewable energy and efficiency including HoHotel Verde, Black River Park and Cape Brewing Company.

Apart from KPMG’s diamond sponsorship, industry stalwarts EPG, GE, Huawei, Landis+Gyr, Lucy Electric, Ontec and Shell are platinum sponsors while Aberdare Cables, Conlog, Oracle Utilities, SAP, SBS Tanks and Vodacom have already confirmed their gold sponsorships.

African Utility Week and Energy Revolution Africa is the flagship energy event organised by the multi-award winning Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and part of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. Other well-known energy events by Spintelligent are Future Energy Nigeria (formerly known as WAPIC), Future Energy East Africa (formerly EAPIC), Future Energy Uganda and Future Energy Central Africa. Other industry-leading events organised by Spintelligent are DRC Mining Week, Kenya Mining Week, Nigeria Mining Week, Agritech Expo Zambia, Property Buyer Show, African Real Estate & Infrastructure Summit and Eduweek.

Earlier this year, Spintelligent won four major awards at the ROAR Organiser and Exhibitor Awards, which honour excellence in the exhibition and events industry on the continent and were organised by the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO). African Utility Week won for Best Trade Exhibition 6001-12000 sqm category (joint winners with the World Travel Market).

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Employment Growth Quickens Amid Efforts to Deal With Workloads

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Manufacturing Activities PMI

The Nigerian private sector registered a slight loss of growth momentum in January, with output and new business rising further markedly, though at softer rates than at the end of 2022.

On a more positive note, firms raised employment at the fastest pace since June 2018 as part of efforts to complete work on time.

On the price front, rates of inflation of input costs and output prices softened in January but remained elevated.

Analysis by Stanbic IBTC Bank showed that the headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI®).

Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration. The headline PMI dipped to 53.5 in January from 54.6 in December. Although still signalling a solid monthly strengthening of the private sector and the thirty-first in consecutive months, the rate of improvement was the softest since August 2022.

Business activity increased at a much slower pace at the start of the year, despite the rate of growth remaining marked. The latest rise was the weakest in five months. Demand continued to improve, but some firms reported a moderation in customer numbers.

Activity increased across each of the four broad sectors covered by the survey. The rate of expansion in new business also softened in January but remained sharp nonetheless, again reflecting higher demand from customers.

A desire to try and complete projects on time led companies to ramp up their hiring activities at the start of the year. Employment increased at a solid pace that was the fastest since June 2018.

Despite expanded staffing levels, backlogs of work increased for the first time in three months. Firms reported having been hindered by issues with machinery and power supply.

Higher workloads and positive expectations regarding the outlook for activity led companies to expand their purchasing activity sharply again, with the rate of growth unchanged from December. In turn, stocks of purchases also rose further. Efforts to secure inputs were helped by improving supplier performance.

Competition among vendors, quiet road conditions and prompt payments all contributed to a shortening of delivery times, one that was the most pronounced in four months. The rate of input cost inflation softened for the second month running in January, and was at a one-year low.

The slowdown in overall cost inflation largely reflected a softer rise in purchase prices, albeit one that was still substantial. Purchase costs increased on the back of rising fuel and raw material costs, exacerbated by currency weakness.

Meanwhile, staff costs rose at the fastest pace in 11 months as companies increased pay in line with higher living costs. Output price inflation also remained elevated as higher cost burdens were passed on to customers.

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Economy

NASD OTC Market Appreciates by 0.95%

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NASD Market capitalisation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The duo of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc buoyed the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange by 0.95 per cent on Thursday, February 2.

They lifted the market capitalisation of the bourse by N8.80 billion to settle at N940.51 billion compared with the previous day’s N931.71 billion. They also raised the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) by 6.70 points to wrap the session at 715.76 points compared with 709.06 points recorded in the previous session.

During the session, the price of FrieslandCampina went up by N3.23 to settle at N68.06 per unit, in contrast to the previous day’s N64.83 per unit, while CSCS Plc appreciated by 50 Kobo to sell at N13.50 per share compared with the preceding session’s N13 per share.

The volume of transacted stocks decreased by 4.3 per cent to 261,439 units from the 273,038 units traded in the preceding session. However, the value of shares traded went higher by 38.9 per cent to N15.7 million from N11.3 million, while the number of deals recorded an improvement, as it grew by 300 per cent to 20 deals from five deals on Tuesday.

Business Post reports that there was no price loser at the session.

Geo-Fluids finished the day as the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 321.2 million units worth N317.2 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 35.8 million units valued at N25.8 million, while FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc was in third place with 2.4 million units valued at N159.4 million.

Geo-Fluids Plc also maintained its summit position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis, with 321.2 million units sold for N317.2 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Group Plc was in second place with 2.4 million units valued at N159.4 million, while VFD Group Plc was in third place for trading 561,810 units for N137.0 million.

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Economy

Continuous Bargain Hunting Leaves Local Stock Exchange Higher by 0.93%

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Local Stock Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

The local stock exchange closed higher by 0.93 per cent on Thursday amid continuous bargain hunting by investors, who are digesting a flurry of full-year corporate earnings.

It was observed that the growth reported during the session was strongly influenced by buying pressure in the energy sector, which rose by 5.17 per cent on the back of gains posted by Seplat, MRS Oil and others.

The banking and insurance counters depreciated on Thursday by 0.44 per cent and 0.39 per cent, respectively, as the consumer goods and the industrial goods sectors closed flat.

At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited increased by 498.44 points to 53,998.12 points from 53,499.68 points, and the market capitalisation grew by N271 billion to close at N29.411 trillion compared with the midweek session’s N29.140 trillion.

MRS Oil topped the gainers’ chart after it gained 10.00 per cent to finish at N17.60, Northern Nigerian Flour Mills appreciated by 9.88 per cent to N8.90, International Energy Insurance rose by 9.76 per cent to 90 Kobo, Seplat went up by 9.50 per cent to N1,325.00, and Cornerstone Insurance improved by 9.09 per cent to 60 Kobo.

On the flip side, Sunu Assurances topped the losers’ log after it lost 8.11 per cent to trade at 34 Kobo, Mutual Benefits fell by 7.69 per cent to 36 Kobo, Linkage Assurance dropped by 6.25 per cent to 45 Kobo, Veritas Kapital declined by 4.76 per cent to 20 Kobo, and PZ Cussons depleted by 4.65 per cent to N10.25.

Business Post reports that the market breadth was positive as there were 27 price gainers and 12 price losers, indicating a strong investor sentiment.

Investors transacted 2.9 billion shares worth N8.1 billion in 3,940 deals, in contrast to the 200.4 million shares worth N5.5 billion transacted in 3,716 deals on Wednesday, showing an increase in the trading volume, value and the number of deals by1,331.88 per cent, 47.27 per cent, and 6.03 per cent, respectively.

Universal Insurance traded 2.7 billion shares due to an off-market deal to close as the most active stock and was followed by AIICO Insurance, which sold 14.0 million stocks, GTCO transacted 13.9 million equities, Sterling Bank exchanged 10.3 million stocks, and Fidelity Bank traded 9.9 million equities.

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