You are here:

Innovation at AEW 2023: Technological Advances Driving Africa’s Energy Sector

The ongoing dialogue about global energy transition is an urgent one, with countries scrambling to find sustainable solutions without compromising their growth. Within this framework, the African continent has emerged as a focal point. Its rich energy resources and the vast untapped potential render it a significant player in this transition. The AEW 2023 conference & Exhibition, held in Cape Town, emerges as the ideal platform to illuminate these discussions.

Diving Deep into the African Energy Renaissance

As the second day of AEW 2023 unfolded, it became evident that the narrative around Africa’s energy scenario is multi-layered. The panel discussion, aptly titled “The African Energy Renaissance: Reinforcing African Priorities Amidst the Global Energy Transition,” steered by prominent figures from OPEC, the World Nuclear Association, and Rystad Energy, pivoted around the continent’s unique position in the global energy fabric.

Dr. Ayed Al-Qahtani from OPEC, while reflecting upon the challenges and priorities, made a compelling case for viewing Africa’s energy needs through a different lens. The continent, with its impending population boom and increasing energy demands, cannot be clumped with global strategies without acknowledging its distinct needs. Al-Qahtani’s remarks resonated with many, as he drew attention to the balance between climate change measures and Africa’s developmental imperatives.

Per Magnus Nysveen’s introduction of the ‘energy addition’ concept was a game-changer. It was not just a mere term; it encapsulated a holistic vision for Africa’s energy future. The idea that Africa can judiciously utilize a plethora of energy sources, from the sun’s rays to the depths of its uranium reserves, underlines the continent’s adaptability and forward-thinking. Nysveen’s emphasis on renewables catering to rural energy demands while having robust backups was a particularly salient point.

Nuclear energy’s mention often raises eyebrows given its controversial nature globally. However, Dr. Sama Bilbao y León painted a different picture for Africa. Nuclear power isn’t just about energy; it’s about securing a sustainable future, empowering economies, and aligning with renewable sources to provide consistent energy outputs.

Angola: The African Energy Jewel

The focus then shifted to a country spotlight, putting Angola, a jewel in Africa’s energy crown, on the pedestal it rightfully deserves. The sessions during AEW 2023 served as a testament to Angola’s soaring ambitions in the energy sector.

Belarmino Chitangueleca’s passionate discourse on Angola’s rich oil heritage set the stage for what was to come. As he took the audience through Angola’s milestones, the country’s dedication to the energy sector became palpable. Their success is not merely serendipitous but a result of strategic investment, continuous adaptation of regulatory frameworks, and a vision that transcends short-term gains.

The sentiments of international stakeholders further validated Angola’s pivotal role in the energy space. Chevron’s Billy Lacobie succinctly captured the essence of their operations, emphasizing how their efforts are intertwined with the broader socio-economic fabric of the region. ExxonMobil’s Jeff Weidner highlighted the collaborative spirit in which they operate, ensuring that investments are not just profitable but sustainable in the long run.

Angola’s commitment to renewables was evident in its progress in the sector. With a laser focus on increasing the national electrification rate and a staunch belief in sustainable growth, Angola is poised to be a beacon for other African nations.


The overarching theme of AEW 2023 is the juxtaposition of global energy trends with Africa’s unique context. As discussions deepen and solutions emerge, there’s a sense of optimism and resolve. Africa is not just a silent spectator in the global energy transition; it’s at the heart of it. With events like AEW 2023 shedding light on these intricate dynamics, the roadmap for a sustainable energy future becomes clearer.

Feel free to contact the Energy Transition Centre today with questions. 

·  Julius Moerder, Head of Energy Transition Centre [email protected]

·  Oneyka Ojogbo, Head of Energy Transition Centre, Nigeria & West Africa [email protected]

·  Leon van Der Merwe, Head of Energy Transition Centre, South Africa [email protected]

Author: Memoona Tawfiq