Opening the third edition of the South Africa Investment Conference, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, identified the pursuit of clean energy investment and establishment of a unified African market as key drivers of the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
“The Coronavirus has severely damaged our economy, causing great economic contraction and driving the unemployment rate to its highest level ever. In the wake of this pandemic, our foremost task now is to rebuild our economy,” said President Ramaphosa. “This must be akin to how the Protea (South Africa’s national flower) germinates after a fire. The plant comes back to live more optimally than before.”
President Ramaphosa highlighted the progress made since the implementation of a national investment campaign launched in April 2018, in which the Government set an investment target of 1.2 trillion Rand (approximately $77 billion) within five years. To date, 664 billion Rand ($43 billion) in investment commitments have been pledged, representing just over half of the target.
As a result, South Africa is focusing on consolidating and leveraging existing investments in 2021. Fifty companies have made investment commitments during this year’s SA Investment Conference.
Within the energy sector, large-scale projects include the launch of the largest liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage unit globally in St. Richard’s Bay. The $65-million project was carried by Bidvest and Petrodec, with the goal of distributing LPG to South Africa and the greater Southern African region.
Another key focus of the Government’s recovery strategy is the power sector, leveraging a reliable and affordable power supply to grow economic prosperity.
“Our energy sector is undergoing a paradigm shift, as our power utility company Eskom is being restructured into various entities for generation, transmission and distribution,” said President Ramaphosa. “This is will improve efficiency and transparency, and lay the basis for greater competitiveness and low energy costs.”
To support this agenda, the grid will see increased generation capacity produced from renewables, battery storage and gas-to-power technologies. Various bid windows will be announced in December 2020, including the much-anticipated fifth bid window of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program.
Another key element of pan-African economic recovery is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, to be implemented in January 2021.
“We are establishing a continental market with 1.3 million people that features a combined GDP close to $2.3 trillion,” said President Ramaphosa. “We must celebrate the historical moment where our continent has developed to a point where we can embrace the creation of a common market.”
As the continent’s southernmost point endowed with modern infrastructure, 3,000 km of coastline and a rapidly growing economy, South Africa is well positioned as a market entry point for international investors.
To stimulate investor appetite, Africa Oil & Power (AOP) will host its fifth annual AOP Conference & Exhibition in Cape Town (October 5-7, 2021). Under the theme, “Invest Without Boundaries,” the event will catalyze investment throughout the pan-African energy value chain, and includes co-hosted events specific to African renewables, finance and LNG development. As Africa’s premier platform for energy investment, AOP and South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will work collaboratively to advance the country on its path to recovery and prosperity.