The US-Africa Energy Summit 2017 to be held in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, on September 18-19, 2017, is a solution-driven summit that would offer firms and investors in the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa the means and opportunities to seriously address the perennial shortage of electricity supply in their respective countries through collaborations and partnerships with US-based firms, funding from growth fund managers, and financial institutions that specialize in energy projects. In addition to these private sources of funding, federal and state governments in Africa, the World Bank, the IMF, and the Power Africa project led by the US government, have dedicated material resources and funding to encourage private investments in the sub-continent’s energy sector.

The US-Africa energy summit is designed to be an annual event with alternating venues in Africa and the United States, thus providing maximum exposure of what the summits have to offer to an ever-increasing pool of participants. To achieve its objectives each summit would serve as an enabling forum for Africa-based energy firms to meet and engage in collaborative initiatives and partnerships with established power companies in the US. But more importantly, they afford both US and African energy companies opportunities for growth through innovative research and product development, technology transfer, and financial stability. Furthermore, the summits would help shape a model for future energy generation, transmission, and distribution that recognizes the need to improve older technologies (coal-fired plants, oil and gas), while enhancing the capacity for renewable energy such as wind, biomass, natural gas, and solar based power.

The summits would especially emphasize the salient fact that the model of centralized power supply as practiced in many African countries is no longer serviceable in a 21st century economy, and that decentralization and privatization provide a sustainable trajectory of growth and reliability.

It is within this context that the summit takes its relevance, thus the need for participants to avail themselves of modern technologies in power generation, distribution, expertise in renewable energy, the current state of research and development in sustainable power, and the benefits and legal implications of international partnerships in the energy sector. The inaugural summit of 2017 articulates the first step in this promising enterprise.

Participants from Africa would be offered assistance, if needed, in securing US visas to the summit through our offices in Abuja and at the University of Wisconsin. Detailed information on the summit would soon be available on the summit’s website.

Bridging the funding gap in the power sector
In addition to financial commitments made by several African governments (Nigeria, for instance, has budgeted US$1.3 billion to the power sector in its 2016 budget), Power Africa, a US led consortium, has set aside over US$42 Billion to fund the electrification of the sub-Saharan African countries. This initiative aims to boost existing power supply by 30,000MW of electricity to power 60 million households and businesses in sub-continent. This additional source of funding is crucial to the energy sector, for it bridges the financing gap African governments and private investor are unable to fill. The summit shall make available experts from USAID, the administrators of “Power Africa” to provide guidance and assistance to existing and new private investors in the energy sector.

Highlight of benefits to participating African firms/investors:
• Better understanding of power generation and distribution under a decentralized regime
• Access to modern power generation and distribution equipment and technologies
• Access to advanced technologies for harnessing renewable energy, and utilization in power generation —solar, wind, biomass, and natural gas
• Billing and revenue recovery systems, and smart metering technologies for efficient and reliable revenue collection
• Access to established US energy companies for collaborative and partnership opportunities
• Funding opportunities with private investors willing to provide debt and equity financing of energy projects
• Access to equipment and software producers and suppliers
• Training and consultancy opportunities
• Waste management, environmental protection, and public safety measures

Highlight of benefits to US participants:
• Exposure to international energy firms, and expansion of customer base
• Opportunity to offer international participants their products and services, and build long-term business relationships
• Export opportunities for products and services from US firms
• Investment opportunities for private equity funds and investors seeking areas of rapid growth
• Training and consultancy opportunities for US firms
• Access to funding provided by “Power Africa,” a USAID administered program to fund energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa