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ACBF-trained engineer to help electrify rural Africa, after winning world energy prize

09 Jan, 2018

Harare, 9 Jan 2017 (ACBF) – An ACBF-sponsored engineering researcher, who won the 2017 ENI Award for Excellence in Energy in Africa, Ms. Blessing Ugwoke, says she is working to ultimately provide a rural electrification improvement template to governments and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa that are bereft of access to electricity – a critical factor for the continent’s transformation.

Ms. Ugwoke made the remarks recently while thanking ACBF for contributing squarely to her emergence as winner of the 2017 prestigious Debut in Research: Young Talents from Africa Prize, one of the six categories of the ENI annual awards, commonly referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for Energy.’ She received her award from the President Sergio Mattarella of Italy at the close of 2017, following her brilliant Master of Science thesis obtained from the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, where she had studied under a full scholarship from ACBF.

As part of the award clenched by Ms. Ugwoke, the reputable Italian energy and engineering – ENI – is now funding her PhD Studies at Polytechnic University of Turin, where she is developing her template to help Africa develop its off-grid renewable energy solutions in rural areas. She says this is materializing because ACBF built a solid foundation for her.

“The ACBF study grant for me is harbinger of great things. It paved the way forward for me with respect to advancing my academic career. It is a platform on which other success rides and has indeed paved the way for others that have benefited from it not just me. This grant honestly is a wonderful initiative from ACBF and it is forever changing lives,” Ms. Ugwoke said.

She affirms being highly equipped with skills acquired from AUST to proffer not just solutions to energy access in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, but also to help Africa address issues of climate change related to energy use.

ACBF has partnered with AUST, one of the Nelson Mandela Research Institutes for excellence on science and technology in Africa, since 2012 in training the next generation of innovative scientists, engineers and mathematicians to drive Africa’s transformation. The Foundation has funded teaching and research at the world class science and technology university to the tune of over 2 million US dollars, helping to produce about 60 (with focus on young women) scarce skills persons from across Africa, with PhD and Master degrees in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) needed to push the continent’s transformation agenda.

The success of the Foundation’s scholarship beneficiaries and the innovations they are now injecting in useful academic/policy research and in the industry, is a clear pointer to the need for far more substantial support to the Foundation in its quest to spearhead an African Skills Revolution. Donors, member States and the private sector should take advantage of ACBF’s unrivalled experience in dissecting continental and country capacity needs for development as well as its networks in identifying game changers to help plug the gaps and quicken the implementation of the continent’s transformation agenda. 



For more information, please contact:

Abel Akara Ticha – Senior Communication Officer
The African Capacity Building Foundation
Harare, Zimbabwe
+263 7+263-4 304663, 304622, 332002, 332014; Ext. 279


ABOUT the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)

Having spearheaded and robustly coordinated capacity development programs worth over 700 million US dollars across 45 countries and 8 regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa since 1991, ACBF has gathered the requisite experience that makes it the go-to institution for expert knowledge and human resources to advise and support African countries, regional economic communities and institutions on decisive steps to take to develop the practical skills urgently required for the continent’s economic transformation.

Evidence from our cutting-edge work (constituting hundreds of knowledge publications) and the work of several partners show that Africa's development efforts are being hobbled by severe capacity deficits often in the form of shortage of critical skills, deficits in leadership, inhibiting mindsets and weak institutions. The continent’s practical skills shortage is acute in key areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agriculture.

At ACBF, we will continue using our unmatched track record in managing financial facilities for development, our vast knowledge gathering experience thanks to the exceptional skills mix of our core staff as well as our strong strategic partnerships and networks to help countries and institutions identify their capacity needs, advise them on how to plug these capacity weaknesses and on where to find the knowledge and resources to develop the requisite capacity resources, effectively use them and retain them to achieve their short and long-term development objectives.

ACBF’s vision is an Africa capable of achieving its own development.

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Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana