EGENCO HOSTS APUAegenco
The Electricity Generation Company (Malawi) Limited (EGENCO), hosted the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA) annual meetings in Lilongwe, at the Bingu Wa Muntharika International Convention Centre (BICC) from 3 to 9 June 2023.
The meetings brought together power utilities from Africa, alongside regional and foreign organizations to tackle various issues that contribute to the development of the African electricity sector.
Presiding over the opening ceremony, Malawi Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola acknowledged that African countries face various energy challenges but was quick to say that the continent faces energy opportunities as well.
“The continent as a whole is endowed with energy resources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal,” Said Matola, urging the delegates to look at Africa’s energy challenges in light of its opportunities.
EGENCO Chief Executive Officer, Engineer William Liabunya said the meetings serve as a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and collective action among power utilities in Africa.
“We face similar challenges in the power sector. So we will be able to learn from each other’s experiences on how we can improve our industries,” Said Liabunya while mentioning that EGENCO is ready to share the lessons it has learnt on how utilities can be resilient in light of climate change.
“In a space of four years, we have had three serious cyclones in Malawi that affected our power generation. We are ready to share how the sector can develop more resilient and sustainable infrastructure to weather such challenges,” Said Liabunya.”
In his speech, APUA Director General, Tella Abel Didier urged African leaders to make energy a priority as the continent has sufficient energy resources for its countries’ development.
“The energy resources that we have in Africa are enough to develop all the power needed by the continent – this development is in our hands. Our leaders should prioritize energy and make investment to bring solutions to our economies.” Said Didier.“
The center of the APUA meetings was a discussion on Africa’s energy transition from fossil fuels to clean sources of energy. The delegates deliberated that Africa’s energy transition will be unique to Africa with the Malawi Energy Minister, Ibrahim Matola urging regional blocs such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to negotiate better terms with multilateral institutions on Africa’s transition to cleaner sources of energy.
“Within those blocs, we can negotiate our energy transition better. We can negotiate the deadlines, provision of finance and removal of the red tape and conditionalities attached to their finances so that we can also develop our power sector.”
EGENCO CEO, William Liabunya, echoed Matola’s sentiments arguing that each country needs to make its case understood as adoption of renewable sources of energy such as solar depends on stable sources of power such as coal to form a baseload.
“We need to have a case by case situation – negotiate our case as Malawi and see to it that we develop a base load that will help us leapfrog into development and accelerate industrialization in the country.” Said Liabunya while further pointing out that most of the countries that have developed in Europe had coal as their base load; and that although they abandoned it as dirty energy, they are now returning to it because their energy supplies have dwindled due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Over 40 African countries were represented at the APUA annual meetings. APUA Director General, Tella Abel Didier commended EGENCO for hosting the annual meetings calling it a masterpiece event and that the country has done very well despite only joining the association recently.