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Magik Energy Lab, a First of Its Kind in Senegal

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Magik Energy Lab is the first sustainable development incubator dedicated to the Energy sector in West Africa. Samba Cor Bathily, CEO of Magik Energy Lab, spoke to African Energy Series: Senegal 2020 about the company’s mission to facilitate exchange between industry players, support entrepreneurs and accelerate innovation.

Could you introduce Magic Energy Lab’s concept?

Magik Energy Lab wants to push the traditional start-up incubation model further and offer to Senegalese start-ups an immersion in the heart of the industrial activities of the oil, gas, and renewable energy sector and give them the opportunity to co-create solutions to address issues in the energy sector.

We started the adventure in early 2019 with strategic partners like Pôle Avenia, SupDeCo and Agence de Développement et d’Encadrement des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises.

In September 2019, we were partners of the event EDF Pulse Africa Tour in Senegal (EDF invites African entrepreneurs to participate in a call for projects as part of the third edition of the EDF Pulse Africa Competition Award) as a jury we awarded the ‘Boost’ prize to the startup ‘LUMOS Project’ and a panel on technological innovation for access to electricity.

For 2020, the plan is to expand even more in the region and sub-region by deploying a specific program through university incubators, but also by strengthening our support actions for community projects.

In the initiative to support the introduction of innovative digital technologies throughout the value chain (increased operator, data recovery of industrial facilities, collaborative work environment etc.), our second objective is to set up our Magik Makers Lab, which will collaborate, create, test solutions by manipulating advanced technologies. As an entrepreneur’s lab, it will provide access to code and materials that help our start uppers rethink the world!

What are Magik Energy Lab’s ambitions in local energy sector in the short and midterm?

Our business strategy lies on four key growth drivers including the development of the industrial sector by supporting the creation of local content; creating opportunities for the youth and the private sector, boosting the interest and participation of women in the industry and connecting industry stakeholders to create a vibrant ecosystem for the energy sector.

Despite often ambitious laws, the average rate of local content in Africa rarely exceeds 20%. With a goal of 50% local content by 2030, our mission is to ensure that Senegalese people manage to capture all the opportunities of the oil and gas value chain. Addressing local content is not only about bringing technological innovation, new socio-economic models and business models are also needed.

The first recruiting phase of Magik Energy Lab is made up of start-ups operating in Renewables Energies and Gas including VELS from Vélingara, SAMABIO Energy from Dakar and SANOSI from Touba

We have launched an innovative concept; the MAGIK Hackathon, which aims to recruit oil and gas startups. The idea is that companies will present a pitch that will expose their issues so that entrepreneurs, developers and start ups can address them and set up projects that will then be incubated.

What is the potential of renewable energy in Senegal? Is renewable energy development compatible with growth in the oil and gas sector?

The energy mix is at the heart of the Emerging Senegal Plan drawn up by the government which aims to achieve universal access to electricity in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and to fight global warming (Senegal is a signatory to the Paris agreements).

With an exceptional solar potential, sizable wind potential (average wind speed is comprised between 5.7 and 6 meters per second on the coast) and strong biomass potential (around 331.3 million cubic meters), Senegal could easily achieve energy self-sufficiency and even be an energy exporter. With all the barrel price fluctuations and the political stakes linked to oil and for gas, the development of renewable energies should make it possible to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

How attractive is Senegal to potential investors?

Aside from the recent discoveries of oil and gas, Senegal has an extensive clean energy potential. With the Taïba N’diaye wind farm operating at full capacity, wind power will represent half of the renewable energy available in Senegal, alongside solar. From a structural point of view, the country remains a benchmark in terms of democracy and free enterprise. Strong institutions and macroeconomic stability provide ideal conditions for foreign and private investors.

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Sihle Qekeleshe is a Web Editor at Energy Capital & Power. She has experience as a Copywriter and Editor in various industries.