Middle East Energy, the leading energy event in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, has further advanced the industry at its recently concluded high-impact 48th edition. Hosted at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 7 – 9 March 2023, the conference and exhibition gathered over 23,000 energy professionals from across the global energy ecosystem as an avenue for cross-continental partnerships, exploring the latest advancements in energy products and solutions, and participation in key dialogue.
Organized by Informa Markets, this year’s edition is said to have facilitated over US$ 1.86 billion in business deals in its three-day showcase. The event also accomplished its goal to guide the region through the energy transition, with a strong focus on enabling relevant discussions about the opportunities, challenges, and barriers to renewable energy market growth and implementation, leveraging case studies and real-world examples.
Africa remained at the forefront of the event’s agenda with dedicated seminars and fireside chats discussing key issues including perspectives from Rwanda on the energy transition, exploring projects in Egypt that are accelerating the transition to clean energy and energy decarbonization, and examining how East Africa is rapidly emerging as a renewable energy superpower in Africa by building up capacities, plans, and projects to reach 100% clean energy, amongst others.
Nigeria, in particular, was the subject of a dedicated panel session on the 1st day which explored the country’s unique opportunity to merge economic development and climate action priorities. As Africa’s largest economy and set to be one of the world’s first true just transitions, Middle East Energy assessed the challenges and opportunities for Nigeria’s natural gas in the energy transition. The panel session featured high-level speakers including Sule Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Executive Board, West African Power Pool and the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria; Sowunmi Olabode, Senior Legislative Aid to the Senate President, National Assembly of Nigeria; and Olakunle Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Tetracore Group.
During the session, Engr. (Dr). Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz spoke on Nigeria’s ability to develop its energy infrastructure and the partnerships needed to solve its challenges. He said, “The number one challenge we face in the sector is funding, especially as the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). The generation and distribution arms of the sector are owned by private companies so they are able to source funding through various investors and banks. On the other hand, TCN is availed only three sources to garner funds from – government allocation, internally generated revenue, and donor funding from multi-lateral organizations including the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
TCN currently has over 100 ongoing transmission projects (lines and substations), so we are always striving to pool funds to complete each project. We currently have companies approaching us with PPAs and we have signed MoUs and agreements so that these projects can be actualised. We have also partnered with certain parties we call eligible customers, mainly steel companies based in Nigeria, to build the needed infrastructure to advance the sector.” He concluded.
Olabode Sowunmi also expanded the discussion on the current gap in Nigeria’s energy infrastructure which has caused stagnation in development. He explained, “Many times, what has been noticed is a disconnect between policies and the private sector, for whom the policies are intended. This is because there have been inadequate opportunities for interactions and effective constructive engagement between beneficiaries. For sustainable development, there must be consistent, regular, and effective communication between the private sector and policymakers“.
In addition, Olakunle Williams shared his thoughts on the future of energy infrastructure and development in Nigeria, saying, “In the next five years, Nigeria will need to improve its energy access by getting more people connected to the grid. We will also need to considerately step up our gas-based industries because as we continue to meet power needs, we have huge requirements to industrialise in a very short time. Regarding solar power and other renewable energy sources, I want to see a situation where we can incorporate them more into our national energy mix and be a major player when it comes to expanding clean energy across Africa“.
Middle East Energy now holds a 48-year legacy as a leading global energy industry event. By addressing the entire product spectrum of the power industry, year after year, the event attracts a more diverse audience of professionals seeking to source products from multiple sectors, drive cost-effectiveness and efficiency, and move projects forward. MEE has been an essential part of the Middle East and Africa’s economic expansion, connecting businesses and introducing new products to the regions to build infrastructure, real estate, and commerce. MEE is now helping governments, organizations, and SMEs diversify the generation and supply of energy and build a sustainable future.
Conversations on enabling the development of Nigeria’s energy sector will continue at the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conference. Scheduled from September 19 – 21, 2023 at Landmark Center, Lagos, the event will bring together contractors, developers, investors, project owners, and utilities to network and develop reliable power solutions for Nigeria’s peak energy demand and pave the way for decentralisation. Visit www.nigeria-energy.com for more information.