Power to the continent

29th October 2019
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The annual African Oil and Power Conference is the continent’s premier platform for energy investment and policy. As the only conference series that embraces the entire African value chain, we were honoured when our very own Darren Hollander of Workforce Africa was invited to be a guest speaker at the multinational event which was recently held in Cape Town. 

Taking part in the conference included more than 20 African heads of state and energy and petroleum ministers, representatives from billion dollar businesses, academics from all corners of the energy sector, and many more who gathered at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from the 9th to the 11th of October. 2019’s theme was MakeEnergyWork and the guest list proved immensely impressive.

Darren had the opportunity to brush shoulders with the presidents of Senegal and Gambia, and various ministers of energy, petroleum and mining from South Africa, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, and South Sudan. “The conference lent itself to networking and open discussion,” explained Darren, “And so in that regard it was well worth every second I spent there. Aside from that, it also provided an incredible opportunity to present to an engaged audience and mix with some top calibre people in the industry.”

Darren took to the stage to speak on the Energy Infrastructure in Africa panel where they discussed the implementation of various projects across the continent. Joining Darren on the panel included a labour law expert from London, a member of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as French and Senegalese investment delegates.

“The guests at the conference were all of an exceptionally high calibre, so the questions we were asked were highly engaging,” commented Darren, “Overall the panel discussion went very well.”

Aside from networking within the confines of the conference, Darren also enjoyed dinner with Mouhamadou Makhtar Cisse, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy for Senegal.

The dinner was well worth it though, and Darren’s experience of dealing with the Minister was only positive. “He was very polite, had very positive comments and really wanted to grow Africa’s energy infrastructure. Through my discussions with all the various ministers, we spoke about possible work to be done in Senegal, Morocco, Angola, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, and South Sudan. There is immense potential in Africa, opportunities we should thoroughly explore.”

Darren’s overall thoughts on the conference are exceptionally motivating and full of opportunity, “I learnt that it’s time for us to become a global player, we need to think big, bigger than Africa even. There are multiple opportunities for us throughout the world, we just need to put int the effort to go after them.”

In terms of challenges plaguing the sector, they can also be seen as opportunities for us to shine; “Skilled labour is in dire need across the continent, there looks to be a large investment in training and upskilling within the private, governmental and NGO sectors,” explained Darren.

“Africa has all the raw talent we need. Now through investment it just needs to be refined.”

Written by Desiree Schirlinger

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