09.12.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Training on solar energy to boost electrification in 12 African countries

@ UNMIL Photo/Christopher Herwig

UNESCO Dakar is co-organizing a workshop on solar energy from 9-13 December 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. Some 30 participants from 12 French-speaking African countries will be trained in the installation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems, an arrangement of components designed to supply usable electric power by using the sun.

"We often forget the crucial link between access to basic energy services and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals," says Anthony Maduekwe, programme specialist in the Science Sector at UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar.

Access to basic energy services contributes to a substantial increase in school enrollment, better health coverage through better packaging of drugs, improved food conservation, increased access to safe drinking water and the establishment of small income-generating activities.

Lowest electrification rate in the world

Despite continuous progress, Africa has the world's lowest electrification rate, nearly 42% of its population connected to electricity in 2009. But there are significant disparities in electrification rate between North Africa (electrified 99%) and Sub-Saharan Africa 30%). In this last area, rural populations are worse off since only 15 per cent have access to electricity.

The training at the workshop will include practical sessions organized at the Ecole Superieure Polytechnique of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. A field trip for the participants is also planned to a demonstration site at a town called Pire about 100km from Dakar.

"This initiative is part of our activities launched several years ago to support the institutional capacity building and the development of human resources in the field of renewable energy capacity," says Anthony Maduekwe.

The workshop is the 4th 'regional school' on solar energy in French-speaking Africa. Hundreds of professionals around the world have been training in this areas between 2009 and 2012. Of these three sessions have taken place in French-speaking Africa. "This workshop in Dakar is a continuation of this rich experience," adds Maduekwe.

Partnership with TIKA and ISESCO

Jointly supported by TIKA (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency) and ISESCO, the facilitating agency is CIFRES at the Ecole Superieure Polytechnique of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. These agencies are supporting the implementation of a programme related to promoting and developing renewable energies to increase access to energy for all in the African countries.

Participants will include policy-makers, environmental engineers, technicians and staff of technical and maintenance services, university instructors or training institutes in the field of renewable energy, researchers and traders wishing to deepen their knowledge on technical and socio-economic aspects of solar energy.

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