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Energize Joining forces to empower Africa’s energy transition leaders
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Joining forces to empower Africa’s energy transition leaders

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Information from Enel

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) played host to the opening training module of the third edition of Open Africa Power (OAP), a novel academic partnership started by Enel Foundation to empower a new generation of leaders to drive Africa’s energy transition.

Held in South Africa for the first time after visiting Kenya and Ethiopia, OAP 2020 involves a record number of 61 students from 16 African nations. More than 40% of the participants were women, confirming the initiative’s focus on international as well as gender diversity, and providing a concrete demonstration of African women’s emerging role in the clean energy transition.

Anton Eberhard, Emeritus Professor and Director of the Power Future Lab at the UCT GSB, was the opening lecturer of the training and welcomed participants by saying: “2020 is a crucial year for Africa’s energy security. If we don’t act now, we risk being left behind as the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources gains momentum. We therefore urgently need more African clean energy leaders who understand these shifts and are capable of providing the private and public sectors with the expertise needed to benefit from, rather than be disadvantaged by, them.”

During the week, participants were trained on the state of the art of the energy sector by local and international academic leaders from the UCT faculty and by experts from the industrial, institutional and academic realms. These included Enel Green Power South Africa’s country manager, Bill Price; the head of the renewable energy division of the African Development Bank, João S. Cunha; and Prof. Izael Da Silva, from Strathmore University.

The International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) joined the programme for the first time as an institutional supporter, with Bruno Merven, a senior researcher at UCT’s Energy Systems Research Group and IRENA’s energy modelling consultant, lecturing at the training.

During the week, the Enel Foundation and the Embassy of Italy in South Africa hosted a networking event celebrating the contribution of this initiative for international academic cooperation and promotion of sustainable development across Africa. Partner universities for the training include Strathmore University from Kenya (an implementing partner), University of Nairobi (a hosting partner in 2018) and the University of Addis Ababa from Ethiopia (a hosting partner in 2019). In addition, the programme’s Italian training module involves leading Italian institutions such as Politecnico di Torino, Politecnico di Milano, Bocconi University, Florence School of Regulation and Venice International University.

During the inauguration of the programme at the newly built Academic Conference Centre of UCT GSB on February 10, Enel Foundation and Nelson Mandela Foundation also unveiled their new partnership. The 2020 edition of Open Africa Power was dedicated to Madiba in recognition of the programme’s promotion of sustainable solutions to critical social problems and its contribution to the vision of a just society, capable of learning from its past and listening to all its voices. The partnership also includes the launch of the “Nelson Mandela Foundation OAP Prize”, granted every year by both institutions to the best student of the programme, based not only on academic merits but also on the student’s social commitments in giving back to the community.

Open Africa Power 2020 was also supported by an African ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software start-up who designed the on-line application platform that was used to seamlessly screen and select the OAP 2020 candidates. The communication product from BeeZ Social ERP will also be used to connect the OAP alumni community which will reach almost 150 leaders by the end of the third edition. Thanks to the use of this digital platform, Enel Foundation successfully collected and screened more than 750 applications from 41 African countries for the OAP 2020 edition.

Contact Enel Foundation, info@enelfoundation.org

 

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