By: Tebogo Mokwena
Young entrepreneurs from South Africa can take advantage of business opportunities if they expand their horizons and look to other African nations. This is according to Sifiso Nxumalo, 26, whose business received funding from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, which has enabled him to conduct a feasibility study in Zambia. The study will be completed in a year’s time, and Nxumalo’s company, Silenx, then plans on erecting a solar plant.
Nxumalo told Vutivi News that the study was funded by the department through its Capital Projects Feasibility Programme, which was a cost-sharing grant that contributed to feasibility studies that were likely to lead to high-impact projects that would increase local exports and stimulate the market for South African capital goods and services. His business is a consulting company that provides various services including the wholesale supply of solar panels. Nxumalo approached the department for funding after he learned about the programme on its website.
He said Zambians, like South Africans, were also struggling with electricity and saw the possibility of developing the area. Nxumalo called on young entrepreneurs in the country to consider doing business in other African states. He believes that the continent is there for the taking of young entrepreneurs. According to the department, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is expected to create a continent-wide market comprising 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of US3.4 trillion. “In Zambia, the government is investing in solar power,” he said. “Its target is to increase electricity generation to 6000MW by 2030. The government has been encouraging private players to join the industry in order to achieve its target.”
Nxumalo told Vutivi News that solar would cement Silenx’s entrance as a major player in a very competitive industry. The company was founded in 2017 while Nxumalo was still in university. “Looking back to where we started to where we are, this will enable Silenx to roll out similar projects in the Southern African Development Community region,” he said. “We will also be embarking on smart technology where we will use processed materials to manufacture panels,” Nxumalo said the challenges South Africa faced were not unique, and that renewable energy companies from the country should cast their net further to provide solutions for other African states.