The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with the University of Namibia has trained 71 national experts on energy modeling tools to build efficient energy systems as Africa intensifies its transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient development.
Co-convened by the ECA and the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG), the Energy Modelling Platform for Africa (EMP-A) is a training programme designed to create optimized investments for the energy transition in Africa and to meet its growing demand for low-carbon development.
Linus Mofor, Senior Environmental Affairs Officer in the Technology, Climate Change, and Natural Resources Management Division of ECA, said the EMP-A was held at a time when many African countries are working on their energy transition plans.
“I trust that the national experts will be able to apply the modeling skills acquired to contribute to the formulation of these plans for optimal use of Africa’s abundant clean energy resources to drive industrialization and climate action on the continent,” said Mr. Mofor.
The CCG programme is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to support investment in sustainable energy and transport systems to meet development priorities in the Global South. The training brought together the energy planning and modeling community in Africa to share experiences, models, and data in climate, land, energy, and water systems.
“The trained professionals are expected to use the modeling tools for long-term energy planning and optimized investments in their respective countries,” said Mekalia Paulos, from the ECA, adding that the training will assist experts decide “how best to use all of their energy resources in such a way as to meet their national development imperatives towards sustainability and climate-resilient growth”.
Kumbuso Joshua Nyoni, a Senior Engineer at the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) commented: “I am thrilled to have been a part of this milestone. It is a great honour, and a testament to the effectiveness of the programme. It not only empowers us to make informed decisions about our energy policy, but it also equips us with the skills to train others and promote sustainability in our communities.”
Yanda Hamilemba, a Principal Engineer at Zesco, added: “Experiencing this ‘Summer School’ has been an awesome and inspiring experience. It has motivated me to learn more about the policies and power situation in sub-Saharan Africa beyond my own country of Zambia.”
While Shari Babajide, a research fellow from the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), was “thrilled at the participants’ ability to come up with informative energy policy briefs and excellent presentations that could shape energy transitions in the region.”
Michelle Akute Liza, a Planning Engineer at Kenya Power, concluded that: “This training has enabled me to learn and grow in ways I did not imagine.”
Improving energy access in Africa in the context of SDG#7 goals requires game-changing policies and investment. The goal should be pursued within the context of a transitioning energy system that leverages the continent’s immense clean energy potential while phasing-out carbon-intensive technologies and resources. It is estimated that energy transition goals that respect a 1.5°C scenario offer Africa a 6.4% higher long-term growth prospect than without transition.
“As we work to move our economies away from reliance on fossil fuels and towards low-carbon and renewable energy sources, it is critical to understand the drivers of this change holistically, their cost, capacity, availability, operational life, and trade-offs,” said Fahd B. Isa, one of the participants in the training course.
Mark Howells, Director of CCG, commented that it was a key part of their ethos that the countries with whom they work are empowered to make their own decisions on future energy policy and economic growth.
“It is really heartening to see professionals from African countries using the training we have provided to train their fellow countrymen and women in a way that is self-sustainable,” Mr. Howells said.
The first EMP-A training took place in 2018. The 2023 edition is the fourth during which national experts were trained on the Global Electrification Platform, Energy and Flexibility Modelling, Financial Planning of Energy Infrastructure and Investment as well as on the Model for Analysis of Energy Demand (MAED) and the energy balances.
The course attracted participants from Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).