Speech from Chairman for IEEE Power Africa Conference
Dear participants, fellow engineers, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to deliver the keynote address on the fourth day of this very important conference.
This conference has indeed come at the right time that requires Africa to harness its immense resources to ensure that its people have access to sustainable energy.
The need availability of adequate, reliable and clean energy sources as a prerequisite of sustainable development cannot be overemphasized.
The current climate conditions require us to look to alternative sources of power as the hydrology landscape changes. Innovation is taking a key position in how resources can be harnessed using readily available materials to provide affordable and sustainable energy.
The African resilient and Innovative African spirit is best illustrated by William Kamkwamba, a young Malawian schoolboy who was banned from attending school due to his parents inability to pay his tuition fees but was allowed to access the school’s library where he learned about electrical engineering and energy production. With his knowledge he was able to build a windmill to power an electric water pump he had scavenged and parts of a bicycle. With this he is able to pump water to irrigate the farms.
These are the type of innovations that Africa needs to support, improve and make available to as many as possible to ensure that affordable solutions are available in rural areas.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Goal 7 of the SDGs is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The targets of this SDG include: –
• Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
• Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
• Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
• Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
• Expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries
All the above targets are to be achieved by the year 2030.
This platform provides an immense opportunity for various professionals and stakeholders to come together and work collaboratively by forging genuine partnerships that will enable these targets to be achieved.
A significant and targeted effort is therefore required in the creation of quality multi-stakeholder partnerships that will provide an enabling environment for sustainable and smart energy solutions for Africa.
The Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) is a statutory body established under the Engineers Act 2011 and has the overall mandate of developing and regulating the engineering practice in Kenya. The development and regulation of engineering practice is considered a key component to the achievement of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.
Through collaborations such as the one with IEEE, the Board is able to connect all engineers within its register to platforms where they can access emerging technologies, applications, innovations, business models, policies and regulatory frameworks that would enable them to provide professional engineering services within the fields they work in. The Board is cognizant of the immense global resource that IEEE possesses and what access to these resources would do for the engineers that we register. These resources and activities would ensure that engineers keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
The Board looks to strengthening this and such collaborations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Capacity building for sustainable development needs to start right from the early steps of education of our children. Inculcating a culture of sustainable development throughout the education of our children will ensure that as they enter the professional space then they will have the skills and competencies to design, build, operate, distribute and utilize sustainable energy systems that are environmentally friendly and economically beneficial to all. Innovation must be encouraged.
Aspiration 7 of Africa’s Agenda 2063 is to have Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner. This requires Africa to pull together on platforms such as these to provide African solutions to African challenges.
The engineers, scientists, technologists, practitioners and all professionals who have attended this conference need to come together, share knowledge and ideas that can put Africa on the global platform within the context of providing sustainable and smart energy solutions that can power Africa. Access to energy should be a priority for all nations in Africa. This means that experiences and lessons learned need to be shared in conferences like these.
Forums for international and local partnerships need to be facilitated where opportunities to achieve energy access through renewable energy-based approaches can be pursued. Opportunities in energy generation, distribution and utilization in an environmentally responsible and economically beneficial manner should be explored.
To all the professionals in the conference,
Upholding the code of ethics of our various professions is key. The need for observance of ethics cannot be emphasized enough across efforts to provide sustainable energy in Kenya and across the continent. This is a legacy that must be passed on to the young ones who are coming up within our various professions.
I conclude by leaving you with this thought,
Goal 2 of Aspiration 7 of Africa Agenda 2063 is for Africa to take full responsibility for financing her development. How can this be done? Is it possible for Africa to come up with partnerships that can refocus its resources strategically for its own growth and transformation? Can Africa independently put in place the right strategies to finance its own development and reduce aid dependency?
We are the ones with solutions to our challenges. Let us pull together and build an Africa that is a strong, united, resilient and an influential global partner in matters of sustainable and smart energy.
African engineers must arise and take their place and lead in designing solutions that fit the African context. The question we must ask ourselves is how can African engineers provide solutions that enhance access to affordable and reliable energy that is so critical in spurring economic growth and providing productive interlinkages with other socio-economic activities such as industry, service activities, agricultural activities and commercial activities. If we come up innovative ways of addressing this, then Africa will be on the way to greater heights.
ENG. ERASTUS K. MWONGERA , FIEK,RCE,CBS
ENGINEERS BOARD OF KENYA