Amir Shaikh, Chief Legal Counsel of the African Legal Support Facility addressing participants at the panel discussion on “Taking Lessons to Invest in Power in New ‘Frontier’ Markets” at the African Energy Forum in Dubai.
The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) hosted by the African Development Bank was represented in a panel discussion on “Taking Lessons to Invest in Power in New ‘Frontier’ Markets” at the African Energy Forum in Dubai on June 10, 2015. The aim of the panel discussion was to deliberate on ways through which countries can learn from other frontier markets in the development of their power sectors.
The meeting brought together experts from government, utilities, financial investors, power technology providers and developers to share their perspectives on what has changed over the past 5 years in the sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Amir Shaikh, Chief Legal Counsel of the ALSF said that there is a need to strengthen the regulatory framework in many African countries, which can help create an appealing operating environment for investors.
In particular, the panel focused on the need for a better understanding of the risks perceived by the private sector and the real risks of implementing power projects in Africa.
Other experts in the field noted that there are still a number of challenges that cause delays in the sector. One panelist stated that many African Governments have national development plans outline individual country goals but many lack a regulatory framework to support outlined targets. Further, competing interests of governments and investors cause delays and result in increased costs.
In discussing where the immediate investment opportunities, panelists noted that while the potential exists, it is critical for governments and investors to explore innovative ways to secure the financing required to grow the sector.
The event also served as an opportunity for the ALSF to bring to light the importance of legal considerations that should be taken into account by African governments and investors who seek contractual certainty.