KAMPALA – Energy is a key driver for economic growth and development across all economies. It is the catalyst through which real transformation can be achieved due to its multiplier effects across many aspects of our lives.
It is against this background that The Mkutano and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development have convened the Inaugural Energy Mkutano 2021 which will focus on sustainable energy and Economic development.
The dialogue will bring together actors on the supply and demand side of power incorporating project developers, government technocrats, development partners and funders deliberate on key issues affecting the sector particularly in light of pending reforms.
The Uganda Vision 2040 aims to have access to clean, affordable and reliable energy to facilitate industrialization, among others. It was imperative therefore, for increased access to energy to feature as a key component of the third National Development Plan (NDP III). This fits hand in glove with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) that speaks to the need for universal access to affordable and clean energy.
Uganda has much to celebrate since the passing of the Electricity ACT (1999). Investment in generation over the past 15 years has increased with a total installed capacity poised to increase to just under 2,000 MW after Karuma comes on stream. This is more than ten-fold increase from the 160 MW that the country had less than two decades ago. There is however some work yet to be accomplished primarily around mid-stream and downstream infrastructure.
Selestino Babungi, the Managing Director Umeme said as key partners in the development agenda of Uganda, Umeme is at the heart of supporting government’s industrialisation plans as per the NDPIII.
“Umeme has invested over USD 739 million over the last 16 years in the distribution network through building sub stations, increasing the network, transformer injection all of which have been of great contribution to the energy sector milestones,” he said.
Bikhado Ofungi, the curator Energy Mkutano said that “the Mkutano series of conferences was conceived in 2017 in order to bring about a more qualitative and action-oriented aspect to the conferencing space in Uganda in which all cogs in the stakeholder wheel play a role”.
He added that “We’ve done quite well in achieving impactful outcomes in the main economic-oriented dialogues thus far and have now been compelled to include sector-specific dialogues. The energy sector given its critical role in our development agenda is an obvious place to start”.
The theme has been met with high-level institutional validation from U.S. Government-funded Power Africa initiative, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Stanbic Bank, Umeme, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), UGEFA, DERO LLC and the Government of Uganda and segues conveniently into the economic dialogue on eco-industrialisation scheduled for later this quarter
Launched in 2013 by the US government, Power Africa’s objective is to bring together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power. To date, Power Africa’s USAID support has assisted the development of 196.25 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation projects in Uganda.
This Mkutano will be unique as it will have the first ever Project DealRoom, that will bring actors from both sides of the transaction divide – project developers, transaction advisors and funders respectively, to progress deals towards closure.
The DealRoom is a great opportunity that opens doors for Uganda’s energy sector investment strategy. The function of the Deal room is to bring actors from all sides of the transaction (including but not limited to investors, investees, and transaction advisors) together with the view of progressing towards transaction closure
Nicholas Kiiza, Sector Head Power, and Infrastructure at Stanbic Bank Uganda said that as a leading financial services provider in Uganda, the bank is well placed to drive the country’s growth and development agenda.
“Infrastructure is at the heart of our economy’s development. I am pleased to note that Stanbic Bank continues to finance critical investments in the power and electricity sector, combining structuring expertise for complicated grid-oriented projects to smaller off-grid oriented entrepreneurs. The deal room is therefore an opportunity for us to lend our expertise in advisory services and funding specific to the nuances of the sector,” said Kiiza.
The NSSF reiterated the fund’s position as a key actor in the energy space most notably through their equity investment in UMEME. The fund’s role as broader enabler means that their investment suite is open to different transaction formats and sizes. An example of this is the recently launched Hi-Innovator that is aimed at supporting youth, Small and Medium-sized Businesses to sustainably grow through entrepreneurship education, funding, and technical support.
The energy Mkutano will feature two globally respected keynotes with expertise in the energy and finance sectors. The morning session keynote will be delivered by Mr. Thulani Gcabashe, founder and Executive Chairman of BuiltAfrica Holdings. He also serves as Non-Executive Chairman of Standard Bank and former CEO of ESKOM.
The afternoon keynote is James Cameron, a thought leader on climate change, social entrepreneur, and consultant. The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development will serve as chief guest for the energy dialogue. Other sector experts will populate the panels across the 1-day agenda.
This invite-only event will be attended by 80 in-house and 120 virtual delegates drawn from the public sector, private enterprises, development partners and power experts covering an array of subject matter including policy, finance, technical and engineering, social and the environment. The Project DealRoom will accommodate pre-screened participants comprised of 40 delegates. Plenary proceeds will be streamed live online using #nrgmkutano21.