Indian energy companies assured of a business-friendly deal in Africa

New Delhi, Oct.28 (ANI): For meeting the regions sustainable development goals, it was imperative for Africa to look for avenues to bridge its power deficit, said Mrs. Inonge Wina, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, at a plenary session on ‘Partnership for Energy and Sustainable Development’ exclusively organized by FICCI at the ongoing India Africa Business Forum (IABF) jointly organized by Indian apex chambers FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM and PHD Chamber.

Mrs. Wina said that agro-processing, local irrigation technology, production of machinery, agri-infrastructure such as storage and other sectors were heavily dependent on energy for their growth. Hence, it would benefit Africa immensely from Indian energy companies establishing their plants in the continent. She assured that the Indian business community would be provided with an enabling environment to thrive.

Mrs. Wina added that the plenary session had provided a critical platform to the African delegation to find lasting solutions to the challenges faced by the investors on both sides. She added that Africa offered immense investment opportunities for power generation and distribution and Indian industry must take advantage of it.

Mr. Obeth Kandjoze, Minister of Mines & Energy, Namibia, said that the focus of Namibia was on developing domestic power generation plants. He added that his country offered a conducive environment for foreign investors with its liberal policies, repatriation of capital, access to foreign exchange, provision of arbitration, fair compensation in case of dispute legal and equal treatment to foreign investors and local players.

Mr. Kandjoze said that Namibia was highly dependent on liquid fuel and electricity for growth of various sectors and the energy deficiency was making the country vulnerable. The country had a competent legal framework but still there were areas that needed to be attended. He added that Namibia was also planning to develop a nuclear power plant to make the country energy sufficient in the long term.

Mr. N. K. Verma, Managing Director, ONGC Videsh Ltd., said that ONGC Videsh had invested in Africa around $8 billion and the aim is to double this number in the next 2-3 years. He added that ONGC Videsh was willing to invest in both upstream and downstream projects but the need was to resolve the prevalent challenges in the system to spur the investment growth.

Africa with its abundance of renewable resources and India having the technology, skill and financial capability to harness energy was an ideal partner for Africa. India-Africa ties have been robust for a long time and this partnership is for progress, said Mr. Verma.

Mr. V Vasu, CEO, Energy Infratech Pvt Ltd., said that in the last five years India has provided great support to Africa. However, fiscal challenges had to be resolved in order to escalate India’s investment in Africa’s energy sector. He added that Africa was rich in renewable sources of energy with wind and solar having the ability to meet the continents energy needs, if harnessed to its maximum capacity.

He said that there was a huge potential for Indian energy players in Africa. India could share its innovative technologies in energy with Africa countries to help them meet their energy demand which was far more than the available supply.

Ms. Moshina Malhotra, Public Relations Advisor, Solar Capital Pty Ltd, South Africa, said that her company was in the process of setting up a goodwill energy project in India and urged the Indian government to ease the compliance procedure, land issues and introduce a single window clearance to help create a business-friendly ecosystem and level playing field for investors.

She said that it was important to generate energy but it was equally essential to create storage capacity. Also, plug and play model was being looked as a way to conserve energy. In this model, a person could purchase energy coupons from a vendor just like the ones used for mobile recharge and utilize it when needed. (ANI)

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