During the event, the participants discussed relevant topics of youth-led governance against climate change, such as related challenges, capacity building programmes, and how to boost youth empowerment in the African REs sector
Rome, 27th of June 2022 – Today, RES4Africa Foundation hosted the event Youth Empowerment for driving African energy transition, organised in collaboration with PwC Italy. Held in Milan, the gathering provided a space for structured discussion about the empowerment of African youth in the energy transition of the continent. Young Africans active in the field of renewable energy and representatives of the institutional and private sector analysed key topics of a youth-driven energy transition: educational challenges, how to effectively support young African innovators and leaders, and existing programmes and opportunities.
Since its birth, RES4Africa and its members have been investing in building the capacities of young African professionals, believing that they can offer groundbreaking solutions for the energy transition of their communities and countries. This event addressed the challenge of involving young people in the higher decision-making layers and institutions, where their voices can be heard and be translated into concrete policymaking actions.
The panel was opened by Salvatore Bernabei (President of RES4Africa and CEO of Enel Green Power), Fabrizio Acerbis (Partner at PwC ) and Roberto Vigotti (Secretary-General of RES4Africa Foundation). Interventions were performed by Matteo di Castelnuovo, Massimo Lombardi (Head of Sustainability Ecosystem at Enel Green Power), Amel Chadli (Vice President Strategy & Digital Energy for Middle East & Africa) and Caio Daud (R&D Cable Design at Prysmian).
The discussion touched key themes of Africa’s youth and its role in the energy transition, such as how to improve fill existing gaps between education and job market, and the challenge of boosting local capacity to increase the deployment of renewables. Relevant capacity-building best practices, mentorship programmes and start-up empowerment were presented as some solutions to address the aforementioned issues.
The outcomes of RES4Africa’s Youth Survey, conducted in collaboration with PwC, were presented during the meeting. The respondents, coming from 18 African countries and all aged between 22 and 27 with different educational backgrounds (Engineering and STEM, Economics and Finance, Social Sciences and Humanities), believe businesses can effectively take action on the sustainable energy transition by investing both in research and development of new technologies. In the participants’ opinion, governments set sufficiently high commitments but they are not doing enough to implement them: companies can help government reforms, mainly by setting up training courses and awareness-raising seminars on energy transition and climate change issues.Today, young generations face lack of job opportunities and are concerned about the difficulty accessing specialized courses that would allow them to enter the job market: the survey underline that they are confident the RES market in the future will offer numerous new employment opportunities.
'“This event addresses the urgent need of increasing the involvement of youth in Africa’s energy transition” said Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4Africa. “The vast majority of Sub-Saharan population is under 30, and African young generations are demonstrating proactivity, capacity to innovate and disruptive ideas which is unprecedented. Involving them in the energy transition and putting them in the position to orient policies and regulations is no longer an option.”
“Today marks a major milestone for RES4Africa’s newly formed Youth Task Force. At a time when Africa faces the challenges of energy access and climate change, youth play a key role in directing the action of policy makers towards a just energy transition.” added Mohamed Alhaj, Chairman of RES4Africa Youth Task Force “The Youth Task Force discussed the major challenges facing youth in education, training, entrepreneurship, and access to finance and emphasized the need for fostering sustainable partnerships to address these challenges.”