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Eskom open to do more business in Africa
Tuesday, 16 May 2017: Delivering his welcoming address as the host utility of the annual African Utility Week taking place in Cape Town, Eskom Chairperson Dr Baldwin Ngubane said that Africa, as an emerging market and in particular, Africa’s energy industry, ought to consider what the Fourth Industrial Revolution means for us as a continent and how we can leapfrog this wave of change to the benefit of our individual economies.
He said that it was now opportune time to invest in the region and secure gains as the market expand. However, doing so in ways that ensure mutual benefits will be essential for these investments to be sustainable.
“Leveraging local as well as international investors through mutually beneficial returns should be explored. Such developments will have implications for the Growth Strategy; Integrated African Strategy; partnerships with local investors and future sales,” Dr Ngubane added.
He continued and said that while a great deal was discussed, and in particular the need to improve infrastructure, education and leadership models in Africa, it was clear that Innovation in Africa was critical and that institutional reform was needed to foster innovation.
“For me, it is important that the energy industry in Africa explores how new ideas can be borne through collaborative networks of research institutions that bring business, utilities, and countries together.  In this way, we can define a research agenda to address our specific industry needs, to build infrastructure, local skills and capability, and to develop appropriate intellectual property.”
He said that the fourth industrial revolution has the potential of providing Africans with an opportunity to discover new solutions that could revolutionise the energy industry and leverage advanced technology solutions for a reliable and sustainable power grid. 
Turning to what Eskom was doing, Dr Ngubane said: “Over the past 18 months, Eskom has turned its business around to a point where today we talk about surplus electricity supply.  This serves as an indication that Eskom’s five-year design-to-cost (DTC) strategy to achieve financial and operational sustainability continues to bear fruit. 
“This means that South Africa has a new commodity on offer ‒ energy security, and we are also saying that Eskom is open to do more business in Africa ‒ with large and small energy-intensive businesses, be it other African utilities, mining, manufacturing or new business development,” he said.
Dr Ngubane concluded by saying: “The developmental needs on our continent are vast. As leaders and players in the energy space we need to recognise that energy supply must contribute to more than just enabling economic growth through abundant energy supply. Energy supply must be leveraged to maximize all aspects of sustainable development which include economic, social and environmental.”