WAMPEX Powers Regional Development
It's been called the 'West African gold rush' and is seen as a 'mining hotspot', one of the world's fastest growing regions for gold production.
West Africa is also abundantly endowed with many other mineral resources and offers huge opportunities for global and local companies. The only impediment to its success is an unreliable power supply.
To address this, West African regional governments have embarked on a major development programme to expand infrastructure and increase capacity. In doing this, the region's infrastructure and power issues have in fact become an opportunity, much like its mining sector.
"Fortuitously, the West African Mining and Power Exhibition (WAMPEX) provides a versatile and powerful platform for facilitating business and trade in these sectors," says John Thomson, Managing Director of Exhibition Management Services, co-organisers of the event.
WAMPEX is the leading mining and power trade show for West Africa, and takes place in Accra from 6 to 8 June 2012.
"With the flood of mining and power projects and related business opportunities gearing up in West Africa, WAMPEX provides a comprehensive networking hub for suppliers and stakeholders to do business."
Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Moses Duma believes that the ongoing power sector reform programmes in West Africa have opened up the power industry to private participation. "The reforms have created an environment conducive for
power producers to compete in power generation and also distribution," he says. Currently power demand outstrips supply – a result of unprecedented economic growth, driven by the growing oil industry.
"The power sector in most West African countries is characterised by rolling black outs and high technical losses," says Duma. "Electricity access ranges between 10% and 40% of the population, but lack of financial and human resources have prevented West Africa from meeting demand.
But with the involvement of private power operators, this can only improve."
International Funding offers Opportunities
In August 2011, the Ghanaian parliament approved a US$3-billion loan from China's Exim Bank for infrastructure projects – with further loans worth another US$6-billion under consideration. The funding is part of a US$13-billion agreements package signed in 2010 between Ghana and Chinese banks to develop infrastructure projects, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
"This presents considerable opportunities for developers, suppliers, service providers and consultants, not only in Ghana but in the Region as well," says Thomson. "The US Export-Import Bank has identified Nigeria as one of nine countries offering US companies the greatest opportunities for sales, and recently signed a US$1.5-billion deal with the Nigerian power ministry for US companies to work in the underperforming power sector."
The privatisation of the country's electricity generation and distribution sector has already begun, with dozens of licences issued for independent power projects.
Nigeria's privatisation agency aims to complete the sale of six power plants and 11 distribution firms by the first quarter of 2012.
By 2015, the country plans to boost its power output from the current 4 000 megawatts to 15 000 megawatts.
Last year, Nigeria received a $3bn funding boost from the African Development Bank and $2bn from the Islamic Development Bank for the rebuilding of power infrastructure.
"And of course, Nigeria's massive oil and gas sector provides considerable overlap with the mining and power sectors to provide additional infrastructure development opportunities for stakeholders," says Thomson.
"A new $10-billion gas-fired power plant will become the largest in Nigeria, with capacity to provide power up to 5 million homes in Nigeria."
The China Development Bank has loaned Ghana $800-million to develop its natural gas infrastructure. A gas pipeline will link the offshore production site to a new processing plant in west Ghana.
Mining Projects Aplenty
A recent survey by Infomine of mining companies operating in Africa and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchanges indicates that 107 mines are active in West Africa, well above the 69 in Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa, 49 in Southern Africa, and 39 in Western Sub-Saharan Africa.
"Clearly, the opportunities are almost boundless and spread far beyond the only the West African area," concludes Thomson.
This is the 10th International Exhibition for suppliers to West Africa's rapidly growing mining and mineral resources sector. International suppliers of mining equipment, technology, services and consumables, as well as those companies offering power generating equipment, transmission and distribution equipment and technology, will showcase their products and services.
The event is organised by Exhibition Management Services in association with EPI Events and Projects International Limited.
Contact Serean at Exhibition Management Services. Tel+27 (0)11 783 7250. Fax +27 (0)11 783 7269. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org