Africa is the ideal destination for energy investments, President Paul Kagame told global investors at the ongoing world’s most prestigious annual gathering that offers an insight into the energy future.
“Resources are there and potential is huge,” Kagame said on investing in the energy sector in East Africa.
To put it in context, Kagame explained that Africa, where most population growth on the planet will be concentrated this century, “is set to emerge as a major consumer of energy products in the decades ahead.”
The President, who is in Houston, Texas, U.S, was presenting the vast investment potential of Rwanda and the East African community bloc composed of six member states.
The conference dubbed the CERAWeek, is an annual international gathering that attracts energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators.
President Kagame has been invited as speaker at the CERAWeek, an event ranked among the top five ‘corporate leader’ conferences in the world. This year the event marks its 35th anniversary.
With the daunting uncertainties in global energy markets, the event is providing a platform for dialogue and “insights into a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.
It appears that emerging markets, especially Africa, embrace innovation and the energy sector is particularly ripe for new solutions.
Indeed, Kagame emphasised, “for future of global energy, Africa is an asset not a burden…Africa is changing for the better, even though risk perceptions often lag behind reality.”
Forward thinking, a consensus by most hyper investors and market technocrats, believe Africa is an ideal place to pioneer and scale up technologies required to distribute renewable energy effectively.
For, Rwanda in particular, the country offers several energy opportunities in areas of Hydro, Geothermal, Methane Gas extraction, solar and peat.
The country needs investors to tap into these energy sub-sectors to increase its energy generation capacity which is targeted to reach 563 MW by 2018.
With a population of 11 million and landlocked, Rwanda wants access to electricity to expand to 70% by 2018.
President Kagame, whose country joined the vast East African community bloc in 2007, says Rwanda and other member states, “have the will power and we are seeing more integration in our region.”
“We are carrying out political integration and making sure our infrastructure master plan is served within this framework.” With many countries in Africa struggling to improve into middle income status, Kagame told participants that, ” Without an adequate supply of power, Africa will never become a middle-income continent”.
“1.2 billion people did not have access to electricity last year,” Lain Conn the Chief Executive officer Centrica plc a British multinational utility company.
Meanwhile, Steve Bolze CEO of General Electric was asked “what is the number one problem in the world” and he said “Energy”.
“Let’s work together to deepen our energy partnerships and get things done,” President Kagame said.