This year’s African Energy events – Part II
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Event: Powering Africa: Mozambique (7th-8th May)
Location: Maputo, Mozambique
Sponsored by Nedbank, Cummins, and MAN Diesel and Turbo, the main topic of the conference is called “Maintaining momentum in Mozambique’s power sector” and will bring together both public and private sector players. Sessions focusing on gas, renewable energy and regional interconnectivity will provide a platform for discussion of the country’s 'Vision 2025' development plan.
Event: African Utilities Week (12th-14th May)
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
The 15th annual African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa is a meeting place, conference and trade exhibition for African power and water utility professionals. A total of 250 exhibitors, 1,200 delegates, and over 5,000 visitors will embark on the conference in what will be an unequalled opportunity to network amongst the movers and shakers of the utilities sector.
Event: Uganda Mining, Energy and Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition (UMEC)
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Organised by the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the UMEC is partnered with AME Trade; a company specialising in the promotion of trade in Africa and the Middle East. In the next decade, Uganda is set to become a major African oil producer, so this conference may be the perfect opportunity for a plucky investor looking to back these future yields.
Event: Cameroon International Mining Exhibition and Conference
Location: Yaounde, Cameroon
Another networking opportunity formed by a partnership between the Cameroonian Government and AME Trade, visitors will be able to meet key government officials to discuss investments and mining regulatory practices.
Event: Egypt’s Renewable Energy Summit (29th-31st May)
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian policymakers and an international consortium of business leaders will meet to discuss opportunities in renewable energy and both economic and environmental benefits of its implementation across Egypt.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”