Published on : Saturday, August 9, 2014
Throughout the week, Alstom’s smart grid expert Dr. Lawrence Jones joined African heads of state, U.S. political leaders and NGO’s to discuss the partnerships and investments needed to secure Africa’s energy future.
This topic is critical as energy development has not been able to keep up with increasing demands with over half of the 54 African nations experiencing energy crises.
To kick-off the week Dr. Jones attended the Africa Ascending meeting chaired by The Economist, where leaders from the energy sector gathered alongside economists to discuss the growth opportunities, infrastructure investments and innovations that can power Africa with clean, reliable electricity.
On Wednesday evening, Lawrence attended a reception with the President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the Inga Dam project is currently underway.
The hydro project, located on the Grand Inga River in the DRC, has the potential to generate 40GW of hydro power which is equivalent to more than a third of total electricity produced in Africa today.
“While Africa has a vast potential for renewable energy generation, such as hydro, the infrastructure to transport the electricity from remote dams to city population centers is not in place,” said Dr. Jones. “
Investments need to be made in High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) and Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) to ensure power reaches end users, progress can’t be made without it.”
On Thursday, Dr. Jones participated in the Innovation and Impact – Fostering New Partnerships to Facilitate Africa’s Development event, co-hosted by the U.S. National Academies and the Carnegie Foundation, which highlighted the role of African science academies and research councils in Africa’s development.
Discussions focused on the need to improve education and establish initiatives to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) studies.
Speakers cited the importance of U.S.-Africa partnerships and international support to help build Africa’s research capacity for science, technology and innovation development. Later that evening Lawrence attended a Presidential dinner with H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya.
The dinner sponsored by The Corporate Council on Africa featured celebrity guests, CEO’s and political figures.
Dr. Jones also had the opportunity to meet with energy and science & technology ministers, investment bankers, policy makers and utility executives from several African countries including South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda.