Solar photovoltaic is overwhelmingly seen as the most promising generation source for Africa while corruption, skills gaps and access to finance are some of the biggest challenges that power and water professionals face in their industries, a survey released on Thursday has disclosed.According to the survey by the organizers of African Utility Week amongst attendees of the annual event in Cape Town last year, respondents think that technology will have the biggest impact on the energy and water sectors.
Of the 834 people surveyed, 696 are South African (71%), 199 are from 24 other African countries (63 Kenyan, 85 Nigerian) and 40 from the rest of the world, including Europe, USA, China, India and Canada.
Asked what the most promising source of generation is for Africa, Solar PV scored more than 54% amongst the respondents while nuclear was second with 11%.
“The reason could be that rooftop PV, when measured against the other technologies, is easy to execute as a project and photovoltaic modules are becoming very affordable, Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, editor of the energy trade journal, ESI Africa said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
At 49 percent , corruption was indicated as the biggest challenge that power and water professionals face in their industries but issues such as skills gap, access to finance, regulation and policy clarity, red tape and economic slowdown were also perceived as important hindrances, scoring from 36 percent to 28 percent.
“Corruption is still perceived as a major obstacle and this goes along with respondents’ strong call for government commitment and transparency. It will take concerted leadership from all levels of government to rid the continent of this deeply entrenched challenge,” added Pombo-van Zyl.
Skills in finance, engineering/technical, people management and leadership all scored high (29%-33%) in a question on what power and water professionals perceived to present the biggest skills deficit in their companies.
The 18th annual, multi-award winning African Utility Week 2018 will gather over 7000 decision makers from more than 80 countries to discuss the challenges, solutions and successes in the power, energy and water sectors on the continent. Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions the event also boasts a seven track conference with over 300 expert speakers.