African economies have in recent years experienced a surge in business activity, thanks in part to the emergence of an increasingly prosperous middle class. This consumer boom has not only strained retail supply chains but has placed overwhelming demands on national utilities. The World Bank states that more than 25 African countries face an energy crisis, yet the continent abounds with untapped renewable energy resources. Throughout the continent, electricity supply is constrained, and often erratic with damaging ramifications to local economies and crucial infrastructure such as hospitals, telecommunication networks and water supplies to name a few. These challenges within the energy sector are exacerbated by the absence of contemporary energy services and more often than not, poor infrastructure. The need, therefore, to seek out alternative energy solutions is now an imperative for the continent.
In the era of innovation and connectivity the idea of an economy built from autonomous industries attending to their own clients with their own suppliers is fast becoming outdated. More and more, savvy organisations understand that operating in isolation is no longer viable, and that by partnering across, or indeed within industries, higher efficiencies, cost reductions and improved customer service can be achieved. A good example of such collaboration is the symbiotic relationship between two competing technology giants Samsung and Apple Inc, where the electronics manufacturer is a key supplier of iphone micro chips and the like. Such symbiosis is a true case of how the seemingly direct competitors in fact can benefit from collaboration in order to function at their full potential.