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Prof AbuBakar Bahaj, head of energy & climate change division at the university of Southampton, chaired the 4th African Mini-grid summit held in Nairobi, Kenya and delivered keynote speech.
Currently around 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity, and a majority of them live in Africa. Of those, many live in very remote areas that are hard to reach. Mini-grids, as a result, offer a solution because extending the national grid to reach these people, most times, costs more than setting up a mini-grid. Furthermore, these areas tend to have low population densities such that extension to these areas isn’t financially viable. As a result, governments are now very keen on off-grid solutions like mini-grids and are investing in them to reach these populations. Government representatives from Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Zambia and Sierra Leone presented at the summit showcasing how policy in their countries is encouraging green energy developers by giving financial incentives and providing government support where necessary.
— Prof. AbuBakr Bahaj
The Summit provided a platform for representatives from various African countries to discuss challenges faced by Africa regarding energy access for rural communities. Joab Wako, who attended the Summit as an industrial engineer wrote the following. More of Joab’s article can be found here.
The summit happened to be my first conference in the renewable energy space, and I’m very thankful to Renewables in Africa for this opportunity. Apart from the green energy jargon that needs some getting used to, the summit was very informative as industry experts talked about the ups and downs, and their lessons learned.
— Joab Wako, attendee of the Summit
In addition to chairing the Summit, Prof Bahaj also moderated the closing panel with 3 renewable energy authorities of Uganda, Zambia, and Nigeria, and deputy director of renewable energy in Ministry of Energy, Kenya.