Rome/Lusaka, 30th March 2021 – Today, the 16th edition of the Micro-Grid Academy came to end with a field visit at the UNZA Solar Energy Centre. This edition of the Programme, carried out by RES4Africa Foundation in partnership with Enel Foundation, Strathmore University, Kenya Power, AVSI Foundation, St. Kizito Vocational Training Institute and EACREEE, was organised with the special collaboration of Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) and the University of Zambia (UNZA).

The training, titled Business Models and Technologies for Renewable Decentralised Systems for Productive Uses, was held online between 23rd and 25th of March 2021 and focused on rural electrification and related decentralized energy solutions, together with skills related to business development and dialogue with institutions. With the participation of about 60 students from several African countries of the sub-Saharan area, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia, the 16th MGA comprised theoretical online lectures and working groups, managed by trainers from private companies, local and international universities and other institutions, namely: UNZA, Open Africa Power Alumin Program, Rina, UNIDO, USAID, EnGreen.

Source of pride was represented by the participation during the opening conference of Antonino Maggiore, Italian ambassador in Zambia, who highlighted the importance of micro-grids in order to address energy needs in rural areas. On this regard, crucial is the work carried out by RES4Africa and the MGA, in Zambia and elsewhere. Noticeable was also the intervention of Michael Mulasikwanda, Senior Energy Management Officer at the Zambian Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water, who stressed on the importance of the deployment of decentralized energy sources, and how training initiatives are preparatory for it.

Of importance was the speech by the Dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Dr Onesmus Munyati in his capacity as the representative of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Luke Mumba. The Vice Chancellor highlighted the importance of increased use of solar energy for Zambia in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and addressing the critical need of Zambia’s capacity building through training of manpower. “This training is therefore very timely and will contribute to national development”, he continued, “I would like to commend the great role which Renewable Energy for Africa (RES4Africa) and Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) are playing in bringing sustainable, affordable and clean energy to the world. I am also happy to see that they are collaborating with UNZA’s Solar Energy Centre (SEC)”.

The field visit to the Solar Energy Centre of UNZA (Lusaka, Zambia) organized at the end of the course provided 25 MGA students from Zambia with the chance to put into practice the topics dealt with during the training, thanks to experiments, practical activities and demonstrations led by experts belonging to UNZA team (Bellington Changwe, Francis Musonda and George Mwansa).

The Micro-Grid Academy is the living example of the importance of capacity-building” states Roberto Vigotti, RES4Africa Secretary General. “Through relevant local and international partnerships based on knowledge transfer and creation of skilled workforce, we can ensure that the local youth is trained, aware and ready to be the protagonist of the just energy transition”.

Christian Zulberti, representing Enel Foundation in the opening ceremony, underlined how  “training programmes such as Micro-Grid Academy and Open Africa Power, our program dedicated to MSc and PhD Students, are instrumental to empower energy professionals and the future energy leaders of the continent: the tools that these programmes can provide are key to ensure more equal, sustainable, and inclusive societies in the African Countries”.