On 19-20 July, TFSA, in conjunction with our consortium partner Africa House, hosted the Renewable Energy Products and Expertise Showcase: South Africa conference. In the room was the Deputy Consul General, British Consulate General Cape Town, Josh Reid; representatives from Atlantis SEZ, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition; Elettronica Santerno; Green Cape South Africa, Manufacturing Circle; South Africa Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) and UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund.
South Africa has immense potential for a green economy and developing renewable energy – particularly solar, wind and hydro energy – which was discussed in great detail during the conference. The renewable energy sector is an emerging industry that can help secure the country’s energy supply, boost foreign direct investment and improve its credit rating. Fostering a green economy also means creating employment opportunities and helping the country meet its future climate commitments. This potential is the main driver behind TFSA and the UK government engaging in renewable energy. Prior to the conference, insights gained from Africa House identified two areas of TFSA intervention that resulted in a report, Navigating Duty Exemptions for the Renewables Sector, and a database, Profiling the Renewable Energy Sector in sub-Saharan Africa, which were presented at the conference. To access the database please contact Africa House, Atlantis SEZ, or Green Cape, and view a recording from the conference here
Other key activities from the conference were:
- B2B meetings (120+ business meeting sessions were held)
- Panel discussion on South Africa’s current supply capacity and capability to meet input demand into regional renewable energy projects
- Keynote address by the DTIC: Unpacking the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan as the vision and opportunity for a renewable energy manufacturing value chain
- An overview of Energy Catalyst, an Innovate UK programme focusing on accelerating the innovation needed to meet SDG 7 – ‘Affordable and clean energy’
- Workshop on navigating the business of exporting and available resources by TFSA’s Access to Information & Trade Promotion Lead, Robert Moodie
A total of 20 South African Suppliers attended the conference together with 9 (in-person and virtual) Project Developers, OEMs & EPCMs. In addition, 14 virtual meetings were arranged post-event with companies from Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In addition to the B2B networking and presentations, we had the pleasure of meeting some of the SAEEC member firms that have benefitted from digital marketing support provided by TFSA. These included Deandre Dimov, Marketing Manager for Solar MD . Solar MD is a leader in Lithium-Ion battery storage for residential, commercial and utility clients – and Michelle Lingham, Founder of Solar Power Cafe – a certified installer of solar solutions for the domestic market. As a result of these two women meeting at the conference, Michelle visited Solar MD’s manufacturing facilities in Cape Town and both reported there are good prospects for the two companies to do business together in the near future.
Michelle Lingham also shared that, as a business owner, she found value in the conference, particularly regarding information on the SEZ’s and the duty exemptions presentation. Prior to the conference she had no knowledge of the SEZ clustering effect of placing complementary businesses in the same vicinity, which could help the competitiveness of her business. This was something Michelle said she was going to explore further after the conference.