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African Clean Energy leaders start training in Ethiopia


Addis Ababa, January 28th 2019

Enel Foundation has just started in Ethiopia the 2019 edition of Open Africa Power, an education program dedicated to high profile African graduates interested in developing a holistic know-how on electricity to work in private or public sector towards the sustainable electrification of Africa.

The program kicked off with a one-week residential module involving 60 candidates – doubling the class of 2018 - from 16 African countries who will attend classes hosted by the University of Addis Ababa and  UNECA, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

The candidates, selected among 400 talented applicants from 37 countries, will learn about the state of the art in the electricity sector covering power generation, distribution, storage and management technologies, discussing economic and legal aspects as well as policy and regulation challenges and opportunities pose by the energy transition. Particular attention will be given to the challenges of electrifying a continent which is expected to more than double its population from 1.2 billion currently to 2.5 billion in 2050, activating one of the world’s most impressive urbanization processes.

Speaking at the institutional opening event on January 28th honored by the participation of local Authorities including H.E- the State Minister of the Electric Sector and leaders of the academic institutions involved, Carlo Papa, Director of Enel Foundation commented, “The program aims to support  a new highly skilled and strongly motivated generation of electricity experts  around the Continent capable of leading the energy transition leaving no one behind!"

During the week, Enel Foundation will host side events to provide students networking opportunities with local and international experts. A special panel discussion event, the “Foundation Talk”, will focus on Africa’s challenges and opportunities around the need to deploy additional power generation capacity, while revamping and expanding existing electricity grids to deal with increasing power density levels. With the participation of the African Centre for Disaster Risk Management, the Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Addis Ababa and the European Distribution Sector Association, participants will discuss on January 30th the nexus between food, water and electricity in a context of increased need for resilient infrastructures.

On January 31st participants will be offered a debate on private sector challenges. Following the recent African Economic Outlook 2019, presented by the African Development Bank, the event will address the challenges of the structural transformation in the region and the role of the private sector. Speaking at the event, Ms. Akiko Seyoum, CEO of Orchid Business Group, who is co-organizer of the side event, will provide her view on some of these challenges in Ethiopia and in the region. 

A cooperative initiative

Resulting from a cooperation between Italian and African universities, the program is implemented in partnership with Strathmore University in Kenya who was also the implementing partner of the first edition held in 2018 in Nairobi. Following the African module, the program will continue with an online training delivered in cooperation with the Florence School of Regulation and residential training module in Italy. The Italian module, taking place in June 2019, will involve the most talented participants and include lectures at Politecnico di TorinoPolitecnico di Milano, and Bocconi University as well as visits to electricity infrastructure in Italy.

The 2019 Open Africa Power program has received institutional endorsement by Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL), the UN initiative to promote energy access with a special interest in the African continent and supported by the Africa Center for Climate and Sustainable Development, within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-ACCSD),and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC).