Above the fold is Aspectus’ regular feature shining a spotlight on the major stories in the technology, digital, energy and financial services sector.

The story

600 million people live without access to electricity in Africa. So it was with delight that Bonginkosi Mamba, the Director of South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, cut the ribbon to open Africa’s very first ester transformer fluid plant, supporting the roll-out of safer electrification to thousands of homes and businesses across the continent.

Why it’s important

Africa faces a multitude of challenges in boosting electricity access, from intermittency and technology issues, to investment and political unrest. According to the World Bank, the current electricity grid is unreliable and inefficient, so even those that do “have access” to electricity often find themselves without power for hours, even days at a time.

Africa stands at a crossroads. Should it follow the path of many countries around the world and invest in a traditional, centralised model of electricity generation and distribution, or “leapfrog” over it to focus on more local solutions like small scale solar and wind instead? In either scenario, safe, reliable transformers – used to change the electricity voltage to match the user’s needs – are an essential part of the answer.

Up until now, Africa relied on importing transformer components, but as the roll-out of electrification gains speed, a local supplier that can be flexible and responsive to the needs of the region will be invaluable. What’s more, the product being manufactured at the factory is more sustainable and fire safe than alternatives, ensuring the safety of local communities and their neighbourhoods.

What the client had to say

Speaking at the launch Giles Salt, CEO of M&I Materials said, “Development in the energy infrastructure sector across Africa presents a great opportunity, and the opening of this manufacturing facility demonstrates our commitment to Sub-Saharan Africa. We look forward to providing products and technical support to power utilities and transformer manufacturers across the region.”

To support the opening, we placed a client-written release, and some excellent photos, in key media across Africa including Business Report, ESI Africa, Engineering News and Financial Nigeria to reach an audience of over one million readers.

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