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.
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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.
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