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New Era Newspaper - 07/06/2017 - Vol22 No209

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  • Namibia
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10 Inside BUSINESS

10 Inside BUSINESS Wednesday, June 7 2017 | NEW ERA Energy disruption to see Africa drive its own growth narrative Staff Reporter Windhoek New disruptive technologies are changing the way that energy generation and distribution is understood and funded in Africa. These changes have profound implications, far beyond the energy sector. African policy makers, governments, banks, investors and global funders need to take stock of these changes and re-look at how energy is conceived and managed on the continent. “The good news is that technology-driven change is likely to see Africans play a far larger role in building, shaping and benefitting from energy on the continent,” says Rentia van Tonder, head of power at Standard Bank. New technologies are set to expand access to energy beyond Africa’s urban centres. This holds the potential to include Africa’s extensive rural population in meaningful economic participation, sustaining the African growth narrative for generations to come. Small, easy-to-install, home solar, for instance, is making energy affordable to rural populations, and challenging banks to come up with less costly – and digitally delivered – funding solutions, “geared to individuals seeking access to energy – and the economic opportunities that this brings,” says Van Tonder. When new storage technologies, currently attracting heavy earlyphase funding from US investors, is added to the mix, individuals will also be able to store – and potentially even sell – their own energy. Since the bulk of Africa’s rural population has, historically, been excluded from Africa’s limited and urban-focused grids, home technologies delivering and storing affordable and privately owned off-grid solutions, also have the potential to take energy generation and supply off government balance sheets. This will mean that the days of building vast generation and distribution networks are likely not to dominate as in the past. Instead, “the future will see smaller, localised, and even privately-owned off-grid generation, storage, distribution and sale of energy,” says van Tonder. This will involve a far wider mix of technologies and suppliers - and a far wider range of funding and payment mechanisms. Making renewables part of a diversified energy mix also provides utilities a way of continuing to attract funding – by using new technologies to sustainably diversify their generation and supply networks, including off-grid and end-user funding elements. Other opportunities for African utilities include regional integration of generation and distribution. “Selling and supplying energy cross-border to multiple markets significantly reduces the risk and cost of funding utility debt on the continent,” adds van Tonder. If regional integration is blended with renewables and off grid, banks stand a much better chance of being able to help utilities better manage long term sustainability given the flexibility. As such, this disruption comes at exactly the right time in Africa. In today’s less predictable global environment the funding of large long-term energy projects is seen as risky. In Africa too, perceived risk is a growing challenge, particularly when it comes to funding existing energy utilities and traditional large power generation and distribution projects - especially those based on coal and also hydro. “As global investment mandates increasingly include sustainability criteria, traditional sources of African energy, like coal, may struggle to find funding,” Van Tonder explains. Smaller, renewable, off grid solutions, supported by new storage capabilities offer sustainable alternatives that pose less risk and have shorter and cheaper construction and delivery periods. They can also be, “funded in local currency through affordable end-user payment structures – rather than via hard currency-based long term debt,” she says . All this reduces risk. In response to these rapid technology-driven changes, both African energy policy as well as the way bank’s structure – and fund – energy projects is likely to undergo significant change. For now, development finance institutions (DFIs) have taken the lead in funding smaller, more innovative, off grid renewable - and largely community-based - projects. Augmenting these new technologies with supportive government policy and innovative banking and funding solutions holds the potential to expand and sustain growth in Africa. “This will allow Africa to truly begin setting and driving its own development agenda – and growth story,” adds Van Tonder. Standard Bank is working quickly across its 20 African markets to understand the full implications – and potential – of these developments for African growth. Certainly in East Africa, flexible and sustainable off-grid renewable energy solutions are already having a measurable impact on rural communities. With home solar increasingly affordable to many households, East Africa’s hitherto economically excluded rural populations now have the potential to access energy affordably. To date much of the African growth narrative has revolved around population migration into urban centres. As young and newly urban populations’ access energy, finance and consumer goods in Africa’s rapidly expanding metropoles new opportunities, markets and industries develop. If the growth that this trend has driven could be replicated amongst Africa’s vast rural population – through the provision of affordable energy off grid, Africa’s growth potential gets significantly bigger and much more sustainable. This also means that the continent’s growth narrative becomes a lot more locally, rather than globally, driven,” van Tonder adds. In achieving this, the key question to answer is, “how does Standard Bank – as an African Bank - become more relevant in funding the small, the local and the private?” she asked. The good thing about all this change is that the generation and distribution of energy in Africa will become less costly. Also, if supported by the right government policy, energy generation and distribution costs can be removed from government budgets, thus freeing up national budgets for the provision of essential services. While Africa’s energy landscape is being severely disrupted by new technologies, this disruption, if managed correctly, presents exciting opportunities for Africa’s economies and people. MTC erects 14 new transmission towers Ngaevarue Katjangua Windhoek The Mobile Telecommunications company (MTC) has erected 14 new network towers countrywide over a period of four months in an attempt to increase and expand network coverage. The new tower sites are at Okahandja, Rehoboth, Tschudi, Windhoek (Soweto), Otjiwarongo, Otjokavare, Fransfontein, Swartbooisdrif, Katima Mulilo and Rundu Mall. MTC is mandated to provide telecommunications services to all Namibians and it is against this background that the network expansion programme has been in progression especially in rural areas. MTC chief of human capital and corporate affairs Tim Ekandjo said the need to keep up with rapidly growing demand of customer remains a priority to MTC. “The investment in our network is an absolute priority, because we need to keep up with the rapidly growing demand of our customers. Just in 2017 within a period of four months, we have erected fourteen new sites and we will continue to roll out more sites throughout the course of the year.” He added that more new sites are planned for 2017 in both rural and urban areas, “but the company remains concerned that it takes over six months to get environmental clearance to erect sites, which delays the roll out plans.” Ekandjo therefore urged authorities to speed up the approval process, especially environmental clearance targets, “as the current situation is in our opinion unnecessarily long.” MTC has committed itself to bringing communication services to rural areas and as a company “has taken it upon themselves to make sure that development gets to each and every corner of Namibia,” Ekandjo remarked. African ICT leaders explore ideas in Estonia Estonia is clearly punching above its weight when it comes to e-services, African ICT leaders attending the Tallinn e-Governance Conference 2017 told daily Postimees. When it comes to IT development in Africa, the digital revolution there has been underway for quite some time already. At the same time, as Africa is made up of over 50 countries, not all of which are on the same level of development or of comparable size, it is not possible to generalise about Africa’s IT-related accomplishments. Melanie Tjijenda, deputy director of the Division of Enterprise Software and Portal Development of the Office of the Prime Minister of Namibia, said that her country has clearly understood that e-solutions are the most effective way of bringing government services to residents. Given that mobile voice call services are available in more than 90 percent of Namibia’s territory and mobile penetration is very high, making mobile services available immediately is at least as important as developing e-government services, Tjijenda said. One of the conference’s highest-ranking guests was African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, effectively the counterpart of European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Andrus Ansip. Postimees wrote. “I have been in this office for one and a half months and no matter where I go or what event I attend, Estonia is present,” Abou-Zeid said. “Is it true that there’s only 1.3 million of you? I don’t believe it! You are everywhere. Estonia has done it.” Africa awaits from Estonia and Europe more broadly first and foremost concepts, which could be implemented in the local context. “We don’t want to do exactly the same as Estonia; what we want is to prove on this example that all of this can be done,” Abou- Zeid explained. “You started from scratch and did it. There were big challenges, there were difficulties, many risks — but you did it NEW ERA NEWSPAPER FOR NAMIBIA CLASSIFIED ADVERT BOOKINGS all the same.” Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on Tuesday signed a memorandum with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), which will allow Estonia to better share and introduce e-solutions to 79 member states in Africa and the Caribbean and Pacific regions through think tank and consultancy organisation e-Governance Academy. Representative of over 100 countries, including ACP member states, convened in Tallinn this week for the twoday Tallinn e-Governance Conference 2017 taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is focused on the development of e-governments and exchanging relevant experiences. – CLASSIFIED ADVERT BOOKINGS • LegaL Notices • Liquor LiceNces • Legal Notices • Liquor Licences PLEASE • CONTACT • Name chaNge • Birthdays • Name Change • Birthdays • Death stephiNa Notices • Luoke • death Notices • tomBstoNe • Tombstone uNveiLiNgs Unveilings • Thank You TEL: Messages (061)• 27 33 23 • thaNk you messages e-maiL: PLEASE CONTACT

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