AAEA President Norris McDonald and Paula Jackson, Communications Director at the American Association of Blacks In Energy (AABE) traveled to South Africa on April 4 and returned on April 13 to examine the feasibility of establishing partnerships between American and South African entrepreneurs and businesses to address cooperative energy and environmental projects.
The week of programs and meetings is part of an ongoing "United States-South Africa Power Partnership Program." Their hosts included Africa Venture Partners (AVP) and Africa Business Group (ABG). Michael Sudarkasa of AVP and ABG facilitated all meetings, tours and events.
McDonald and Jackson attended and gave brief remarks at the "Official Opening Reception" for the USA Week at the L'Entrecote Restaurant in Sandton. USA Week is an annual event that brings together American and South Africa businesses.
Wednesday April 7th: McDonald and Jackson gave a presentation at the forum held at the Africa Heritage Society Auditorium entitled, "Ensuring An Inclusive South African Energy Sector." After participant introductions, the forum discussed "Affirmative Action in the U.S. Energy Sector: Issues, Reflections and Achievements," "BBBEE in the South African Energy Sector," and "Forging U.S.-South Africa Energy Sector Linkages: Opportunites and Considerations. Kennedy Khabo and Michael Sudarkasa, pictured at right, moderated the forum.
Thursday April 8th: Met with Aurecon Group, a global engineering firm based in Hatfield, Tshwane. Dr. Baholo Baholo - Energy Sector Leader for Aurecon described the company and its projects. A discussion about energy and environment followed.
The first meeting at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) included a discussion about environmental issues with Marba Visagie-Deputy Director: Environment-Industry Development Division. The meeting was held at DTI's Pretoria headquarters. The second meeting included a discussion with Donald Mabusela-DTI Director of The Enterprise Organisation and Thulani Mpetsheni-Director-Electrotechnical Unit. They discussed a broad range of energy and environmental issues related to cooperative development.
McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with two representatives of the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA): Mary Urujeni Kamari-Resource Mobilization & International Relations and Jean Madzongwe-Energy Specialist. The meeting included a very good description of the energy situation in Africa. It also included a thorough description of DBSA and the potential for cooperation between the United States and South Africa.
McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with representatives of SASOL for a discussion about carbon dioxide allowance trading and other energy issues.The meetings included John Sichinga-General Manager-Development & Production and Christopher Kobosha-Portfolio Manager-Government Relations and Public Affairs.
Opening remarks were given by: Dr. Derrick van der Merwe-Pro Vice Chancellor-Univ of Johannesburg, Kennedy Khabo-Coordinator-USA Week-Khabo-Mabe On Time, Inc, Moeletsi Mbeki, Deputy Chair-South African Institute of International Affairs.
Saturday April 10th: Meeting with Eskom General Manager Louis Maleka and Sol Masolo-General Manager: PR & Communications-City Power. The meeting included a description of the electricity capacity challenges facing Eskom and how the government owned utility planned to meet the country's electricity needs.
Martin Nel, Norris McDonald, Paula Jackson, Janelle Gravett, Time Raaff
Met with the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association. The meeting included Janelle Gravett, Martin Nel and Tim Raaff. They discussed steel production and opportunities in South Africa. A broad range of possible cooperative projects were discussed.
Sunday April 11: Tour of Soweto. Visited Mandela House. Visited Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum. The museum is a national heritage site intrinsically linked to the origins of the Soweto Uprising and its aftermath.
Paula Jackson met with Mr. Ompie Aphane, Deputy Director General, Department of Energy, South Africa at his home in Pretoria. Harry Mohloare, a director at KYD Consulting Engineers made introductions and began the discussion around energy needs from the DOE perspective. Given the great demand for power, energy efficiency programs were identified as critically important. Mr. Aphane stated that they would welcome organizations who would want to work on these projects while at the same time training black South Africans in these positions. After the meeting, Mr. Mohlare gave a tour of Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg.
Monday, April 12th: McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with Kantha Rattay, Legal Consultant to discuss South African energy and environmental issues. The meeting was held at the AVP offices in Sandton.
Met with Vunani, a financial services company that operates through two divisions: Financial Services and Investment Services. Financial Services is composed of the Asset management, investments banking and property business units. Investment Services houses Vunani's strategic empowerment equity investments. the meeting included Reginal Shaver-Head-Debt Advisory and Debt Capital Raising and via teleconference: Anton Nuno-COO and Mark Anderson-Investments Executive Director. The meeting included a broad discussion about carbon offset allowances and other issues.
South Africa: My First Trip & My First Impressions: PRESIDENT'S CORNER