Since General Electric (GE) was founded by Thomas Edison almost a century and a half ago, the power business has changed a lot. Vuyelwa Mahanyele, regional sales director for GE’s gas business in Southern and East Africa, has seen this change up close. She tells us how decarbonisation became the overarching theme for both the company and the region, and steps through the financial, technical and policy aspects of making it a reality.

Achieving the trilemma of affordable, reliable and sustainable power in Africa remains a serious challenge. Mahanyele suggests that a combination of gas and renewables can do much of the heavy lifting. She places it in the context of the continent’s economic trajectory, arguing that better, cleaner power with revitalised generation and transmission infrastructure can drive a real economic acceleration, as it has across the world.

Mahanyele outlines the rapidly shifting technological frontier, exploring the technical and economic feasibility of innovations such as hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and next-generation gas power. 

She finishes with a discussion of the local and international factors – technology, investment, skills and policy – that can make large-scale transformation possible at the country, regional and international levels.

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Host and executive producer: Dr Desné Masie

Co-producer: Peter Doerrie

Research: Angus Chapman

Digital Editor: Charles Dietz

Design: Jason Venkatasamy

Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles