The first edition of Open Africa Power program was launched in Kenya at Strathmore University on April 9th, 2018
The program, created by Enel Foundation in partnership with academia in Italy and Africa, aims to forge a new generation of African leaders deeply engaged with their countries clean energy future. The opening module of this flagship training program is the beginning of a four-months learning path for 25 African graduates from nine different countries, who will improve their know-how of the electricity sector while engaging in professional development and leadership activities.
After a careful selection process, which reviewed more than 140 applications, the selected group of young and exceptionally talented graduates from African Universities is now starting the inaugural course hosted by Strathmore University and the University of Nairobi. Coming from diverse backgrounds in Engineering, Computer Science, Law, and Business, students had the opportunity to complement their base knowledge with a holistic view of the challenges in the race for a clean energy future in Africa enhancing technical, regulatory and business skills needed to work in the private & public sector towards the electrification of Africa.
In addition to Enel Foundation and University of Strathmore, the course is organized in cooperation with the University of Nairobi, the University of Addis Ababa, the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Milan and Bocconi University. Speaking at the RES4Africa conference in January, Carlo Papa, Director of the Enel Foundation announced the academic cooperation venture saying “education is one of the most powerful and proven tool of sustainable development. Sharing knowledge on all aspects of sustainable electricity production and distribution, from technology to policy and regulation, we will win the race to a clean energy future for Africa”.
During the initial week, participants explored the state of the art in the global electricity sector through the lenses of SDGs and resilience to climate change. Several workshops enriched their learning experience, thanks to featured case studies, and the presence of Enel teams.
Enel managers lectured students and share hands-on expertise in different areas. Enel speakers included Daniele Agostini, Head of Low Carbon and European Energy Policies; Fabrizio Bonemazzi, Head of Engineering for Enel Green Power; Marco Fragale, Head of BD Europe and Morocco for Enel Global Thermal Generation; Manuel de Tellechea Suarez, Head of Stakeholder Engagement for Enel Global Infrastructure & Networks; Andrea Valcalda, Enel’s Head of Sustainability; and Matteo Cavadini, in charge of East Africa Business Development for Enel Green Power.
Following the Nairobi- based module, students returned to their countries to engage in distance learning courses, spanning over April and May, and to work on research proposals around key dimensions for the electricity sector in Africa or in a specific country. The concrete ideas proposed focused on helping to win the race from poverty to prosperity for the continent. At the end of this process, a selection of the 10 best
participants will move on to the next residential module taking place in Italy, in June.
The Italian module will investigate the new frontiers of the electricity sector and participants will experience innovation first hand in leading contexts such as the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Polytechnic of Milan and Bocconi Universities. The training will feature meetings with government, business, and non- profit leaders, engaging in a dialogue around Africa’s clean energy future. Visits to Enel Group facilities where sustainable technologies are used to produce and distribute electricity will be part of the module as well.
Open Africa Power program also aims to facilitate the cascading of knowledge from participants to younger students. In this context, alumni were asked to share their expertise lecturing younger university students in the Region and serve as trainers for vocational training organized by Enel Foundation in Africa. This module, named “Give Back”, will close the Open Africa Power program and turn its graduates into true agents of change in the transformation of the electricity industry in Africa.
The time has come for the African clean energy transition, and Open Africa Power aims to become a long-lasting training platform, open for more Enel Foundation partners to join in the future and enhance impact by reaching a larger number of students every year.