South Africa’s ‘BIES’ Initiative Moves to Unlock Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in the Energy Sector

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The second edition of an event dubbed the ‘Black Industrialists Energy Summit’ (BIES) is making a renewed push to boost development in the country’s energy sector.

The affair will be hosted in Cape Town from the 11th to the 12th of December as part of a larger event known as ‘EnergyWeek South Africa.’  The meeting takes place alongside the International Gas Cooperation Summit (IGCS) and the Southern Africa Renewable Energy Summit (SARES) at the country’s Westin Cape Town Hotel.

BIES comes at a time when localisation policies have become a permanent factor for energy development in South Africa, with the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice for the Petroleum and Liquid Fuels Sector forecast to be released later this year.

B-BBEE is a form of economic empowerment initiated by the South African government in response to criticism against narrow-based empowerment instituted in the country during 2003 and 2004.

As a result, the Summit will focus on what is known as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, which requires a 40% of South African entity participation, having already achieved black shareholding of 64.2% local ownership.

The Cape Town meeting will update delegates on Government’s plans for making the Black Industrialists Programme (BIP) a success and creating an environment where entrepreneurship in the energy sector can thrive. In this regard, the purpose of Black Industrialists Programme is to leverage the government’s capacity to unlock the industrial potential that exists within black-owned and managed businesses that operate within the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions as described in the IPAP and other government policies.

Within two years of launching the Black Industrialists Programme in 2012, 102 industrialists received funding while 48 companies were given assistance with market access. As recently as April 2018, the Black Energy Professionals Association was launched to increase ownership and build a base for Africa’s industrialists within the energy sector.

“With local content policies rolling out across the continent, we believe this is a key time to address the technicalities of delivering an empowerment programme which also needs to operate as a pragmatic growth strategy, supporting South Africa’s industrialisation efforts to achieve its economic potential,” commented Valeria Aruffo, Director of Africa’s Portfolio at EnergyNet, an organisation that hosts a range of power generation forums, investment events & energy efficiency conferences.

Delegates attending will learn about government strategies to achieve growth, what is expected of BIP participants and how Africa’s industrialists can create value, employment, revenue and innovation across the energy value-chain. Participating organisations include South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA), Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA), Atlantis Green-Tech Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Standard Bank, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Solar Turtle, a South Africa-based organisation that deals in solar energy equipment.

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