Nanotechnology is one of the engines of the fourth industrial revolution. The global market of nanotechnology-enabled products stood at approximately US$1.6 trillion in 2014. In one estimate, the industry could generate 6 million jobs and account for 10% of global GDP by 2030.
Nanotechnology creates, uses and studies materials at nanoscale - one nanometre is a billionth of a metre. Some of these materials occur in nature. DNA, proteins and viruses are examples. Others can be created by slicing larger molecules into smaller ones or by building up atoms into nanoparticles.
South Africa’s electricity sector has faced a series of challenges over the last two decades. It started with inadequate grid infrastructure to provide electricity to the majority of the South African population in the 1990s. In 1994, only 36% of total households were electrified; 50% of the urban population and 12% of the rural population.
Particularly in the middle of the 2000s, the national utility, Eskom, ran into liquidity and profitability problems. It received frequent government bailouts. The 2022 national budget allocated R21.9 billion (about US$1.5 billion) to Eskom.
“Africa has an advantage that it has never had before. The cheapest electricity in the world today, is daytime solar in Africa.
If we have the potential for the cheapest electricity, we also have the potential for the cheapest transportation. 40 percent of the national reserves of foreign currencies are used to purchase and import petroleum products. If a large amount of that cost is alleviated in African countries, it creates a system that is immune to fossil fuel-based inflation.”