YES! Participants

aef 2023 Kenya - zebrAS in national park with wind turbines

Chibuzor Ndubisi

Chibuzor Ndubisi

Chibuzor Ndubisi is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His interests focus on technological and economic trends in renewable energy and sustainable development, both of which he believes are crucial for Africa’s renaissance. He is working towards studying for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on renewable energy generation, after which he hopes to transition into the industry to drive change through innovation.

As an ardent believer in the abundance of Africa’s resources, Chibuzor wants to see more than 60% of the continent’s energy needs satisfied by renewables within the next decade. However, with a clear understanding of Africa’s relatively nascent energy sector and the spate of crises that plague the region, he expects that this sector would record a 30% renewable share by 2030. In his opinion, the African energy sector could reach its full potential by providing ample support for continent-specific innovations and businesses; ensuring synergy between the technological, business, and policy angles; and embracing the perspectives of Africa’s young energy enthusiasts.

Chibuzor is both excited and grateful to be involved with the YES! program. The initiative intersects significantly with his professional aspirations, and the knowledge, skills, and networks gained from YES! would better equip him for his career journey. He hopes to bring a unique voice to the Summit, build meaningful and lasting relationships, and become a worthy ambassador for the YES! community.

Christine Juta

Christine is a PhD Candidate in the Power Futures Lab (formerly Management Programme in Infrastructure Reform and Regulation in Africa), based at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town. Her research investigates the role of new business models and enabling technology innovation in the political economy of power sector reform in Africa, especially focused on market design, system operation and regulation. She is also a I am also a Research Associate Research at FSR Global – a Regulatory Knowledge Hub at the Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute, Florence, Italy and Clean Energy International Incubation Centre, New Delhi, India. In this capacity she works on the a varied set of activities which facilitate the development and delivery of effective energy policy and regulation in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. She has participated in the Open Africa Power and EnerTracks Fellowships, both of which provided a holistic overview of the electricity sector, enhancing the technical, regulatory, and business skills required to work towards the electrification of Africa. She holds a Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy Engineering and a Bachelor of Technology (Hons) degree in Electronic Engineering.

My long-term career goal is to be at intersection of policy dialogue and academic research as a recognised expert on sustainable energy transition in the Global South.

Faith Ogedengbe

Driven by a passion to contribute towards bridging the energy access gap in Africa, Faith Ogedengbe currently works as an energy finance professional with CMR Group. In this role, her work revolves around fostering partnerships and evaluating project opportunities that contribute to the facilitation of foreign investments for clean energy projects in Africa.

Faith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Energy Management. She received the research fellowship award by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) in 2020 as well as became an ENEL OAP fellow in 2021.

Faith is honing on her professional skills and aims to be influential in the financing of bankable projects in Africa. While Faith believes that in the next decade the African energy sector will continue to grow, the quantum of growth needed to achieve the SDGs in relation to energy may not be achieved given that the sector is still belaboured by perceived high risk. With the support of international investors, Faith sees an energy sector that can capitalize on what it has, while simultaneously developing its energy capacity by adding energy infrastructure that focuses on clean energy.

Through YES!, Faith is looking forward to developing relationships with peers and senior influencers in the energy finance space as she recognizes that success in the industry is a great function of the network one has access to.

Faith is committed to living an impact-driven life and, so, helps SMEs in Africa in their financial restructuring and capital raising in her free time. She enjoys travelling, reading fiction and autobiographies.

Godwin Obi

Godwin Obi is an Entrepreneur, Engineer and IoT Specialist.

Building on my entrepreneurship and professional experiences through the Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Social Enterprise Accelerator, Clinton Global Initiative University and Procter and Gamble, among others, I intend to launch a start-up focused on deploying smart cyber-physical power infrastructure in energy poor communities for the provision of carbon-neutral energy solutions through a renewable and sustainable value chain.

Although Africa’s energy sector has the potential of becoming the global clean energy leader in the next decade, it is still faced with widespread challenges including corruption, unsustainable fuel sources, high T&D losses, financially unsustainable utilities, etc. With such challenges, the sector is ill-positioned to leverage emerging opportunities of industry 4.0 to scale clean, renewable and sustainable energy access.

I believe only a “smart” industry can be truly sustainable. Hence, the African energy sector can realize its peak potential by institutionalizing innovative sustainable energy policies across board and incorporating cutting edge technologies such as IoT, AI and Cloud Computing to monitor and automate energy processes, minimize cost, improve efficiency and eliminate critical challenges.

I am super-excited about my involvement in the YES! Program as it promises to be a lifetime opportunity to network with global energy leaders and access learning and professional resources needed to bring my vision of a clean, renewable and sustainable energy future for developing communities a step closer to reality.

Noella Molefe

My name is Noella Molefe, I am a highly motivated environmental scientist with a wide range of experience in the environmental, sustainability, and energy fields.

My highest qualification is a master’s degree (MSc) in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. I have eight years of experience working for the electric utility, Eskom, where I have gained a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge. I am currently employed in Eskom’s Just Energy Transition (JET) Office, and our aim is to implement Eskom’s JET roadmap and strategy to transition Eskom towards a low-carbon, cleaner, greener, and sustainable utility.

I would like to see a complete transformation of the African energy sector from a coal-dominated sector to a renewable energy-dominated sector in the next 10 years. However, such a transition requires effective coordination, financing, and policy support. Therefore, I see the African energy sector transitioning in a phased manner over a long period of time.

The African energy sector could reach its full potential in the next decade if African countries unite to influence energy policies and allocate funding toward the transition of African electric utilities.

Participating in YES will afford me the opportunity to engage with peers and influencers from across the continent, share South Africa’s and Eskom’s plans to transition towards low-carbon energy, and learn about the energy-related projects being undertaken in the rest of Africa for the benefit of Eskom’s JET plans. I am extremely excited!

Adjekai

 

Adjekai is a PhD Candidate at the Power Futures Lab located at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. Her research considers the role of Chinese investment in power generation projects in sub-Saharan Africa and focuses on the price and investment outcomes of these projects, as well as the factors underlying these outcomes. She is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and specializes in corporate and commercial law. Adjekai has experience in several aspects of commercial legal practice including energy litigation, banking and finance transactions and corporate transactions. Professionally, Adjekai looks to running a consultancy in the near future which focuses on advising African governments on the procurement of competitively priced and high-quality power generation infrastructure as she believes that the African energy sector could most benefit from accelerated investment in generation infrastructure coupled with robust least cost planning. In the next 10 years, Adjekai envisages the continent making significant strides in increasing its installed generation capacity, however, it would still need to work diligently towards universal access to clean energy. Adjekai is excited to take part in YES because she believes that it is crucial that young Africans equip themselves with the knowledge and expertise required to accelerate access to energy in the world’s youngest continent (by population age) and YES is precisely the right step in this direction.

Zack Fineberg

Zack Fineberg is a Consultant at Pegasys Strategy and Development within its Resilience team. A qualified Chartered Accountant CA(SA), Zack has a background in accounting and finance and is currently pursuing his master’s in Development Finance at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. With the focus of his research centring on investment into embedded-generation in South Africa, Zack hopes to develop his knowledge, experience, and network to help channel investment towards projects that promote Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) energy security. His hope for the African Energy sector is that it continues to leverage off the increasing appetite of private investors and emergence of innovative financing solutions to address energy poverty in the region in a ‘just and equitable way’. Zack believes that with favourable policies, political-will, and partnerships, the African energy sector will be closer to reaching its full potential by leveraging the continent’s rich resources to promote energy security as well as energy-led economic development. He is excited to be involved in the YES! Programme as it presents the opportunity to further his knowledge and technical skills in Africa’s energy sector while providing a platform for thoughtful engagement and network building. As a young professional he believes his participation in programmes such as YES! play a critical role in exposing the continent’s young talent to international opportunities while promoting personal and professional development.

George Akelola

I am George Drammeh Akelola, Senior Legal Officer at the Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) & Chairperson of KenGen’s Y-Gen (Youth Forum); a first of its kind in Kenya’s energy sector.

 

Speaking from an East African perspective, the African energy sector is one of great potential. As we speak, Kenya is ranked in the top 10 countries globally for geothermal energy production. This tells a story of hope for African developing countries to have their economies grow on a foundation of clean renewable energy sources. With the growth of cooperation amongst African states, the potential is there to have Africa emerge as a leading beacon in clean energy economies, that demonstrate value in sustainability.

 

 

There are several factors that need to be actualized if Africa is to reach its full potential. Firstly, investment in electricity generation and distribution infrastructure to guarantee access to affordable electricity and afterwards, to spur consistent economic growth which is founded on renewable energy. Support for continued innovation and active involvement of youth in the energy planning and policy process is also emerging as an effective long-term key to growth of the sector.

 

 

The Summit presents an extremely exciting opportunity to network with fellow young professionals to exchange ideas on how we can directly impact energy innovation, planning, access and development for the good of our communities. Communities that involve youth in key sectors of their development have the best chance at fulfilling our Sustainable Development Goals. From a Y-Gen perspective, the ideas and lessons from the Summit will be immense for the growth of our newly launched platform.

Refilwe Masilo

 

 

My current professional aim in terms of a career in the Energy Sector is to absorb and learn as much as I can. Although the renewable sector is young, diverse and fragmented, I want to be able to grow my career and add value with my current knowledge of internal audit, especially in the Economic Development obligations of IPPs. My intentions are to add value to the IPP Office by working to mitigate the challenges faced, emphasize the recommendations to these challenges and put not only my attention but also actions in supporting IPPs in developing meaningful strategies for their economic development contributions.

I say all of this to leave an impact on society which hopefully uplifts the quality of South African lives as well as creates new jobs.

 

I want to see the African energy sector without the much needed load-shedding, especially in the South African context. While the energy sector is undergoing major and rapid change, good progress has been made but there is still significant work ahead that has to be done in order to achieve an increased generation of clean, accessible, affordable, secure and sustainable energy. I see the African energy sector being able to provide sustainable energy.

 

One of the conference themes to expect is Building Energy for The Just Transition which sparks some interest as stakeholders around the world are partnering up to reduce emissions (from coal to renewables) significantly across the industrial landscape, whilst also maintaining capacity output, growth and broader job creation. As a special added value to this event, I find the opportunity to network with young career professionals like myself and gather the needed knowledge from industry stakeholders exceptional.

 

Deepti Charitar

Learning is a lifelong process. I am very excited to participate in the YES! program as this will allow me to have access to professional development programmes, to learn about new aspects of the Africa energy sector and to be part of a network of people who are passionate about the energy industry. I believe my participation in this program will enable me to improve my soft and technical skills so that I can perform better in my professional life and keep up to date with the energy industry.

 

In ten years’ time, I would like to see Africa as the green continent, with everyone having access to clean energy at any time of the day or night. I would like to see all vehicles, buildings and households powered by renewable energy sources. However, where I actually see the energy industry in ten years’ time is a sluggish transition to clean energy, with many people still lacking access to basic energy services and with load shedding and power cuts still affecting many African countries.

 

The African energy sector could reach its full potential in the next decade if the continent invests more in education, research, training and creating more opportunities for people to be entrepreneurs. More investment is needed in renewable energy projects as these can lead to decentralised electricity generation, especially in remote locations lacking access to the grid. Policies should be put in place to protect the energy sector from political instability which is prevalent in many African countries.

Kuye

I am an energy entrepreneur with strong expertise in Solar Energy Applications, Energy Efficiency, Energy Transition, Business Development, Product development and optimization, and Project Management. I design and develop sustainable energy systems for homes, businesses, and communities.

Over the next decade, I envision the deployment of more decentralized renewable energy systems to close the energy access gap for the 590m people without access to electricity. I want to see a self-sufficient Africa, where its people have access to sustainable and clean energy to power a modern economy, but unfortunately, with the current level of financing and commitment, it looks quite impossible to achieve this over the next ten years.

Decentralized renewable energy systems remain the fastest way to close the energy deficit on the continent which also ensures we are closing that gap cleanly. Africa does not lack innovation or innovators, but we need to amplify the work that is being done locally, especially by the youth, and provide them with what they need to implement their solutions. We need to shift focus from just talking about the energy problems on the continent to focusing on closing the huge financing gap that exists so we can implement proposed solutions.

Events like YES! is a perfect opportunity for motivated entrepreneurs and innovators like myself to meet with key stakeholders and more experienced professionals in the industry. I can meet with fellow entrepreneurs, potential investors, partners, and advisors that can help to scale the work we are doing back at home. 

 

Maguy Kabil

We cannot deny all the efforts exerted to a super-fast growth in the African energy sector. The International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will be the majority of energy supply growth through 2030 in Africa.

Africa owns the largest desert land, sunny weather, and high wind speeds. This makes it a prime location for renewable energy projects. The milestone that I want to achieve in the upcoming 10 years is to switch the energy sector from its dependence on oil and natural gas, to a fully sustainable global energy all over Africa.

Investing in clean energy seems to be very costly to be applicable, yet these investments can be less expensive than fossil fuel energy systems. Besides that, it will save the earth from the pollution crisis.

Although it is challenging, the African continent has the full potential to move to green energy, preventing energy that relies on extremely polluting fossil fuels. To accomplish this target, we believe that it is -above all- a matter of collaboration between the governments of the African countries, along with the support of the multilateral organizations, regional and global initiatives using the studies, the know-how, right decisions, and effective solutions to execute the mega-sustainable energy projects in Africa.

As an early-career lawyer, being part of YES initiative is in fact an exceptional opportunity to develop and dig more in the Energy sector. It will also allow me to keep me up to date and to be desirable candidate for jobs in this sector.

bayabonga myeni

As a young professional who has just started off his career in the energy sector, I am eager to learning and absorbing knowledge from the most experienced professionals in the industry with the intention of cultivating ideas aimed at investing in the transformation and sustainability of the African continent.

It is important that we acknowledge the great strides African countries have made towards improving their energy sector. With the slight and gradual decline in non-renewable energy generation, certain countries have implemented programmes aimed at diversifying the energy mix. The consequence this will have in 10 years will be broader than just curbing climate change. It will also contribute to a much wider developmental objective which will see an increase in job creation, social upliftment and economic transformation.

The materialization of this forecasted objective lies at the heart of investment in the African continent. More private bodies need to realize the potential our continent has and invest in its development which will assist in fast tracking its growth.

I am exhilarated to be attending the momentous YES! and I am confident that the insight that will be shared there will have a huge contribution in my career moving forward. I am excited to meet other young and driven professionals. It is crucial that we acknowledge the contribution programmes like the YES! have in career development as they recognize our contributions and help us feel a sense of connectivity allowing us to see one another.