Africa Investors Diary: October Is A Busy Conference Month

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Written by D.A. Barber

Investors will be flocking to Africa as well as London and Washington in October for not only African energy conferences, but conferences targeting the business sectors involved in financing, infrastructure, and the mining industry.

Two conferences are worth noting right up front.

The first is the 6th U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Conference (Washington, D.C., Oct. 7-8) sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa. This year the theme is “Building Resilient Cities,” which will highlight how major metropolises in Africa are coping with rapid urbanization and will offer solutions for potable water, intermodal transportation, communication technology, and on and off grid electricity generation. Scheduled immediately preceding the fall meeting at the World Bank, the conference will bring together African government officials, international infrastructure experts, and policy makers from the U.S. public and private sectors.

Another conference which has become increasingly important in the West Africa region is the Annual Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 22-24. Now in its fourth year, the conference will feature international speakers, delegates and exhibitors and is expected to attract more than 4,000 renewable energy power professionals and exhibiting companies from all over the World to debate the energy future of Africa’s most populous nation. According to the organizers, the theme is “Evolution to Renewable energy is the only solution” and the objective of the Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo is to “create a platform for business, government and NGO’s to showcase Alternative Energy solutions and climate change initiatives and technologies.”

Mining and Oil & Gas Conferences

The inaugural Cote d’Ivoire International Mining, Energy/Oil & Gas and Infrastructure Summit (Abidjan, Cote d’lvoire, Oct. 1-3) will see a gathering of more than 500 government and private participants from the mining, energy, oil & gas and infrastructure sectors. The summit will serve as an opportunity for investors and senior industry representatives to assess new business opportunities and address the major issues facing the mining, energy, oil & gas and infrastructure sectors. On the first day of the summit, H.E Jean Claude Brou, Cote d’Ivoire Minister of Industry & Mines, will give the keynote speech.

The 7th West & Central Africa Mining Summit & Expo 2014 (Centre, Ghana, Oct. 7-8) unites mining companies with investors and government officials to explore the latest projects and development opportunities across the frontier mining economies of West and Central Africa – including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Region, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo – along with top industry players from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The program will include discussions of the impact of Chinese investments in African mining projects.

The 6th Zimbabwe Mining & Infrastructure Indaba Conference (Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct. 8-10) will focus on infrastructure and finance as integral parts to the success of any mining economy. This year the conference will have a regional focus, with speakers and stakeholders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to identify mining investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and keep up-to-date with legislation and regulations in the mining sector.Organized by the Mauritania Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines in association with the British event organizer AME Trade Limited, the 3rd Mauritanian Mining and Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition (Nouakchott, Mauritania, Oct 13-15) will gather more than 800 international investors, mining and petroleum experts and financial institutions for three days of plenary sessions, technical workshops, exhibitions, as well as visits to Mauritanian mining sites. The conference is a bit different in that it is a platform to exchange experiences, debate and establish business partnerships and cooperation which will lead to conclusions and recommendations for improved development of the country’s extractive industry wealth and its sustainable development.

The 3rd East Africa Oil and Gas Summit & Exhibition (Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 15-17) is endorsed by the Kenyan Ministry of Energy & Petroleum and expects over 350 delegates from 200 local and international companies. At the request of the Kenyan government, the conference has been expanded to allow more companies to participate in the international exhibition held alongside the conference to boost trade and industry and promote the opportunities throughout the region. The exhibition expects over 200 companies. Conference sessions will include updates of the latest exploration activities in East Africa as well as the investment opportunities and planned licensing rounds in Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles and Somalia.

Now in its 10th year, the iPAD DRC Mining & Infrastructure Indaba (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Oct. 21-23) brings investors, government officials and suppliers together under one roof. Because electric power is key for the mining industry, this year’s conference will focus on the liberalization of the power sector in DRC and the impact of public-private partnerships for the electrification of the region. There will also be a special session on the gold industry of the DRC and updates on the Mining Code that is supposed to be approved this year. His Excellencey Bruno Kapanji Kalala, DRC’S Minister of Energy and Hydraulic Resources, will also elaborate on the role of the Rural Electrification Agency in mining.

The 5th Annual Katanga Mining Week (Lubumbashi, DRC, Oct. 26-29) focuses more on the local challenges as well as the role of the mining industry in social development responsibilities of copper and cobalt mining in the DRC. Infrastructures, the railway, the fiscal regime, environment regulation and the daily challenges that the mining operators encounter will be addressed. Power for the Katanga province will have a dedicated session along with sessions addressing operational issues like transport and energy infrastructure, training and skills development, and corporate social responsibility in the mining sector. There will also be an outdoor exhibition, product demonstrations and site visits to mining operations in the province.

With 187 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves, Nigeria ranks eighth in the world and the Nigerian Gas Association is pressing this fact home at the West Africa Gas Strategic Conference (Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 28-30). This small conference will address gas as an investment opportunity and its role in driving economic growth in the region. The conference leads up to the Nigeria Oil & Gas Trade and Investment Forum 2014 (Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Oct. 30-31), a two-day industry conference and exhibition organized by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport. This event will host thousands of senior level decision and policy makers from the international oil and gas industry to discuss trade and investment opportunities in Nigeria, particularly the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone – the only Free Zone in the world dedicated solely to oil and gas.

Finance Conferences

Two conferences scheduled to explore what the key financing trends are expected to be over the coming years in sub-Saharan Africa include one that is new this year but has already drawn huge attention.

Organized by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and led by the presidents of Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Togo, the inaugural Global African Investment Summit (London, Oct. 20) will bring together the public and private sector to discuss access to finance and highlight over 30 agribusiness, natural resources, power and infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars requiring investment and technology transfer. The goal is for government delegations from Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Togo to present the investment opportunities to attending institutional investors, fund managers, private equity firms and large corporations. Britain’s Minister for Africa James Duddridge will host a gala reception at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all participants at the conclusion of the Summit.

The other important financing conference needs little introduction. The 8th Annual Powering Africa: Finance Options Meeting (Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 30-31) is designed for CEOs and senior-level directors active in the energy, finance, consulting sectors and global investors looking to invest in energy projects across sub-Saharan Africa.

“USA attendance at this meeting has increased steadily over the last 2 years,” Amy Offord of conference organizer EnergyNet told AFKInsider. “We have recent confirmation from Dhungel, Energy Practice Lead and Senior Director, Millenium Challenge Corporation. The International Finance Corporation regularly attends this meeting and have shown interest to do so again this year.”