Categories

View By Date

Tags

Statistics

  • 67
    Blogs
  • 9
    Active Bloggers
66 blogs
  • 08 Jun 2016
    Who said environment is all things around us? Well, dating back to primary school days, teachers used to stress it like that; but does it include “us”- I mean if it’s all things around us, are we part of it or it’s part of us? What happens if people choose to focus on improving their economic status without considering anything around them, does it matter? At least we all know what has ensued in most of those countries that have done their “thing” without the chains of environmental sustainability- examples include European countries, China and the rest. One common feature on these countries is development which is a long distance away from Africa. Is Africa special, like one of those last-borns who have to be treated in some exceptional way regardless of whether it impedes their ability to learn by themselves? This and more was discussed in the second PAUWES debate held at the institute as we take the lead in building future African leaders.How it happenedAfter opening remarks by the head of subject matter team Mr. Andrew Mugumya, the debate was presided over by Ms. Eva Kimonye. The first speaker from proposers Mr. George Kimboowa took the stage. He started by defining sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without hindering the future. He pointed out that sustainability can be viewed in 2 different angles, i.e. ecological point of view and raw material supply. “No one is against economic growth but rather we have to handle it with care”. He acknowledged the fact that economic development is important but it feeds on the environment like a baby and mother. So, to ensure unlimited resource use, environmental sustainability should be put in the light first. He edified the audience about the advantages that come along with proper handling of the environment and how its negligence will drive this beautiful world to doom. He critiqued the research writings of Kenneth Arrow- 1998 that seemingly enforce the sense of “pollute first, clean up later”. “There is no clear evidence that emission levels will fall after countries become richer, generally it’s not clear how the reverse of the effects can be achieved”, he asserted. In a declining voice he called for a first place consideration of environmental sustainability before economic growth - submitted and left the floor. The second speaker, Mr. Martin Lyambai took the stage, he started by defining the environment as the air we breathe. He criticized the world order of consuming more in the name of becoming rich as this leads to depletion of resources and the repercussions are rather intolerable. He gave a case of deforestation happening in the world today, “Over 2 million acres every year are cleared! Look people, the carbon sink is going” he attested. Lake Chad is no more because the people prioritized economic development over the environment. He pointed out how it’s harder than the most expensive diamond today to find people fetching water from wells and rivers, yet it used to be the case some years back. He blamed all this to the copious pollution that has rendered well waters unclean for consumption. He went ahead to point out how the future is important and for that matter it’s imperative that environment sustainability should be at the fore front. A case for Canada selling breathing air to China was pointed out as one of the aftermaths of neglecting the environment to the expense of economic growth. Criticizing the scientific argument of recreating the environment, he added his voice to the believers that such is not possible. He pointed out the Kenya case of nuclear power development, alleging that this is not a sustainable solution to solve energy problems in this beautiful country because the risks are high! Giving an example of Chernobyl and other parts of the world where the effects of nuclear live on still up to date. “Environment has a long term economic growth but it’s worth it, if we don’t realize this, we’re going to cause more challenges for this beautiful planet” he stated. Flooding due to hydropower dams are some of the problems of fronting economic growth. He pointed out how the world is running out of very many precious plant species that would provide healing for the ever developing diseases. Opposers The first speaker from the opposers, Mr. Rolex Muceka- in his opening remarks, “For Africa economic growth should be paramount more than environmental sustainability”. “Look at the people in Africa! Dying of curable diseases because of lack of good hospitals to handle such cases.” Underscoring Tanzania as one of the countries where environment is considered first, he highlighted that people lack land for farming because the fertile soils are preserved. He asserted that a focus on the African scenarios makes it clear that there is a paradox; people are dying because of poverty, poor standards of living, insufficient food supply and many other related issues because the arable land that could be utilized for agriculture is being preserved in the name of environmental sustainability. He posed questions to the audience whose answers no one was ready to give. Is human life less important than the environment? What happened to the coined statements of “environment is everything around us”? If humans are part of the environment why are they left to perish in the name of environmental sustainability? He went ahead to point out economic statistics about Africa, “Three quarters of the people in Africa are poor, they live under 9$ earnings per month yet the continent is among the richest - endowed with significant quantities of resources”. Africa has the lowest GDP with a GDP that is less than that of china as a country! - humbling facts!In his concluding statements, he made it crystal clear that before one starts talking about environmental sustainability, there is a need to recognize that empowerment of economic growth is very crucial for Africa’s case. With 83% unemployment rates, you can’t start singing a boring song about how sweet the environment is. There is a need to focus on what we have and exploit our resources to the fullest. He submitted and left the floor for next speaker Mr. Cuthbert Taguta.He started by decrying the economies of African countries that are mainly characterized by accumulating debts, problems of trade balance and overdependence. He stressed that African countries are being used as ponies in a big game because borrowed money comes with leverages and costs. In his view, Africa should shift her focus to resource exploitation. “Taking a case of developed countries, none of them made it through borrowing, why should Africa take another route we’re not certain of? “, he said. The abundance of resources in Africa, water, minerals and the rest, should we live it to perish because the environment is more important than dying and starving people! Truth is we’re losing much by not exploiting our resources- we really need that money. If people are part of the environment as it’s claimed then you should take care of them first through economic growth.Who should determine the level of environmental sustainability for Africa? We should come up with our own set of rules. According to UN, some of the things that have kept Africa in abject poverty is not utilizing the resources they have. No one is against economic development but there ought to be an approach that caters for environment as well as economic growth. Proper planning is the issue here. He submitted and left the floor. Reaction from AudienceAmong the speakers from the audience, there was one who doesn’t mince words! He rejected the whole idea of environmental sustainability referring to it as a fallacy that was started by a famous Canadian Maurice Strong. He stressed that Maurice strong started spreading the gospel of environmental sustainability after he realized his retirement time had come yet he didn’t have enough in his pocket. He went ahead to clarify that no country has developed among the path everyone is talking about (environment first). Who would want to take a path that has never been taken by anyone? I am sure not many but there is. What is the cost of the environment? What is the cost of human life? Tough questions to answer!From the audience still, one speaker gave a case of a poor man dying because of lack of medication; you want to tell me that it’s ok for that man to die yet he has trees he could probably cut and sell for firewood. Africa is hungry! Should we stop exploiting the rivers we have? Ofcourse not!!In conclusion,The fact is, economic growth and environmental sustainability are both important and for proper performance of countries, it’s important that a holistic approach that handles both is devised for the point that none of them can exist in isolation without problems. For this we should not put a price tag on the environment instead we need policy makers and proper leaders to incorporate economic growth and environmental sustainability. As the editorial team, we take this opportunity to thank the entire students’ body and the different COP teams for making this debate happen. @Editorial_team
    1028 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • Who said environment is all things around us? Well, dating back to primary school days, teachers used to stress it like that; but does it include “us”- I mean if it’s all things around us, are we part of it or it’s part of us? What happens if people choose to focus on improving their economic status without considering anything around them, does it matter? At least we all know what has ensued in most of those countries that have done their “thing” without the chains of environmental sustainability- examples include European countries, China and the rest. One common feature on these countries is development which is a long distance away from Africa. Is Africa special, like one of those last-borns who have to be treated in some exceptional way regardless of whether it impedes their ability to learn by themselves? This and more was discussed in the second PAUWES debate held at the institute as we take the lead in building future African leaders.How it happenedAfter opening remarks by the head of subject matter team Mr. Andrew Mugumya, the debate was presided over by Ms. Eva Kimonye. The first speaker from proposers Mr. George Kimboowa took the stage. He started by defining sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without hindering the future. He pointed out that sustainability can be viewed in 2 different angles, i.e. ecological point of view and raw material supply. “No one is against economic growth but rather we have to handle it with care”. He acknowledged the fact that economic development is important but it feeds on the environment like a baby and mother. So, to ensure unlimited resource use, environmental sustainability should be put in the light first. He edified the audience about the advantages that come along with proper handling of the environment and how its negligence will drive this beautiful world to doom. He critiqued the research writings of Kenneth Arrow- 1998 that seemingly enforce the sense of “pollute first, clean up later”. “There is no clear evidence that emission levels will fall after countries become richer, generally it’s not clear how the reverse of the effects can be achieved”, he asserted. In a declining voice he called for a first place consideration of environmental sustainability before economic growth - submitted and left the floor. The second speaker, Mr. Martin Lyambai took the stage, he started by defining the environment as the air we breathe. He criticized the world order of consuming more in the name of becoming rich as this leads to depletion of resources and the repercussions are rather intolerable. He gave a case of deforestation happening in the world today, “Over 2 million acres every year are cleared! Look people, the carbon sink is going” he attested. Lake Chad is no more because the people prioritized economic development over the environment. He pointed out how it’s harder than the most expensive diamond today to find people fetching water from wells and rivers, yet it used to be the case some years back. He blamed all this to the copious pollution that has rendered well waters unclean for consumption. He went ahead to point out how the future is important and for that matter it’s imperative that environment sustainability should be at the fore front. A case for Canada selling breathing air to China was pointed out as one of the aftermaths of neglecting the environment to the expense of economic growth. Criticizing the scientific argument of recreating the environment, he added his voice to the believers that such is not possible. He pointed out the Kenya case of nuclear power development, alleging that this is not a sustainable solution to solve energy problems in this beautiful country because the risks are high! Giving an example of Chernobyl and other parts of the world where the effects of nuclear live on still up to date. “Environment has a long term economic growth but it’s worth it, if we don’t realize this, we’re going to cause more challenges for this beautiful planet” he stated. Flooding due to hydropower dams are some of the problems of fronting economic growth. He pointed out how the world is running out of very many precious plant species that would provide healing for the ever developing diseases. Opposers The first speaker from the opposers, Mr. Rolex Muceka- in his opening remarks, “For Africa economic growth should be paramount more than environmental sustainability”. “Look at the people in Africa! Dying of curable diseases because of lack of good hospitals to handle such cases.” Underscoring Tanzania as one of the countries where environment is considered first, he highlighted that people lack land for farming because the fertile soils are preserved. He asserted that a focus on the African scenarios makes it clear that there is a paradox; people are dying because of poverty, poor standards of living, insufficient food supply and many other related issues because the arable land that could be utilized for agriculture is being preserved in the name of environmental sustainability. He posed questions to the audience whose answers no one was ready to give. Is human life less important than the environment? What happened to the coined statements of “environment is everything around us”? If humans are part of the environment why are they left to perish in the name of environmental sustainability? He went ahead to point out economic statistics about Africa, “Three quarters of the people in Africa are poor, they live under 9$ earnings per month yet the continent is among the richest - endowed with significant quantities of resources”. Africa has the lowest GDP with a GDP that is less than that of china as a country! - humbling facts!In his concluding statements, he made it crystal clear that before one starts talking about environmental sustainability, there is a need to recognize that empowerment of economic growth is very crucial for Africa’s case. With 83% unemployment rates, you can’t start singing a boring song about how sweet the environment is. There is a need to focus on what we have and exploit our resources to the fullest. He submitted and left the floor for next speaker Mr. Cuthbert Taguta.He started by decrying the economies of African countries that are mainly characterized by accumulating debts, problems of trade balance and overdependence. He stressed that African countries are being used as ponies in a big game because borrowed money comes with leverages and costs. In his view, Africa should shift her focus to resource exploitation. “Taking a case of developed countries, none of them made it through borrowing, why should Africa take another route we’re not certain of? “, he said. The abundance of resources in Africa, water, minerals and the rest, should we live it to perish because the environment is more important than dying and starving people! Truth is we’re losing much by not exploiting our resources- we really need that money. If people are part of the environment as it’s claimed then you should take care of them first through economic growth.Who should determine the level of environmental sustainability for Africa? We should come up with our own set of rules. According to UN, some of the things that have kept Africa in abject poverty is not utilizing the resources they have. No one is against economic development but there ought to be an approach that caters for environment as well as economic growth. Proper planning is the issue here. He submitted and left the floor. Reaction from AudienceAmong the speakers from the audience, there was one who doesn’t mince words! He rejected the whole idea of environmental sustainability referring to it as a fallacy that was started by a famous Canadian Maurice Strong. He stressed that Maurice strong started spreading the gospel of environmental sustainability after he realized his retirement time had come yet he didn’t have enough in his pocket. He went ahead to clarify that no country has developed among the path everyone is talking about (environment first). Who would want to take a path that has never been taken by anyone? I am sure not many but there is. What is the cost of the environment? What is the cost of human life? Tough questions to answer!From the audience still, one speaker gave a case of a poor man dying because of lack of medication; you want to tell me that it’s ok for that man to die yet he has trees he could probably cut and sell for firewood. Africa is hungry! Should we stop exploiting the rivers we have? Ofcourse not!!In conclusion,The fact is, economic growth and environmental sustainability are both important and for proper performance of countries, it’s important that a holistic approach that handles both is devised for the point that none of them can exist in isolation without problems. For this we should not put a price tag on the environment instead we need policy makers and proper leaders to incorporate economic growth and environmental sustainability. As the editorial team, we take this opportunity to thank the entire students’ body and the different COP teams for making this debate happen. @Editorial_team
    Jun 08, 2016 1028
  • 06 Jun 2016
    If I was a New York Times blogger or Washington Post (I am allowed to dream) I think my editor would have had my head by now. I have a habit of writing my blogs at the last minute because funny enough that is when inspiration seems to strike me or that is when I can no longer stew on a topic and I have to write it down. You may ask why I continue to write if the pressure to deliver is so high but writing my weekly entries has taught me how to honor commitment and frankly I enjoy penning my thoughts down but I digress. A few days ago we were enjoying a few drinks with some of our colleagues and we discussed a lot of issues and cultural food was one of them. I came to realize that Cameroon and specifically the Bamileke have very diverse dishes to choose from, be it from the meat, vegetables and the roots. To be honest I was a bit jealous because my tribe (Kikuyu) is known for many things but diversity in their cuisine is not one of them.   Our discussion got me thinking about the food crisis that continues to face our world. According to the World Food Program 795-216 million people are undernourished and do not get enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to human health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The report goes on to list the main causes of hunger as conflict, natural disasters, poverty and poor agricultural practices and over exploitation of resources.  Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world at 23.3% or almost one in every four people.   In Kenya an estimated 1.6 million people are considered food insecure with global rates of acute malnutrition is between 24-37% which is beyond the 15% emergency threshold provided by the World Health Organization. I cannot count how many times Kenyan citizens have come together under the umbrella of Red Cross to mobilize funds to feed the hungry in the Northern part of the country which is majorly an arid and semi-arid zone. Sadly, this has only served as a short term relief measure and a long term solution is yet to be fully implemented. Hence, in every few years the country is caught off guard and we end up losing lives and sources of income especially for the pastoralist communities.    On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), goal number two is to end hunger which is closely tied to goal number one which is to end poverty. The target is to ensure access by all people to safe nutritious food all year round by 2030. Governments hope to achieve this by doubling the agricultural productivity, ensuring secure and equal access to land, implementing resilient agricultural practices that will increase productivity and production and maintaining genetic diversity of seeds, plants, domestic animals among others like political reforms.    I think it is a shame that with all the advancements humans have made in the 21st Century feeding themselves sufficiently remains a big challenge. What I think should be on this list as well are communities adopting new food sources that are not traditionally considered as culturally acceptable. It is sad to have people die out of hunger when food surrounds them only because the said food is not acceptable in their culture. If we are to beat world hunger and especially in Africa we will have to think outside the box. We need to start considering other sources of food even as we implement other actions. Bugs like crickets, termites, beetles, and caterpillars are sources of food in parts of Central and West Africa and we could look into investing in breeding them and supplying our markets. I do not know how many of us me included would consider frogs, snakes or bats as delicacies without gagging but the truth of the matter is there are people who have been eating them for years and they are well and breathing so we shouldn’t be any different. The vision we have for 2030 does not have to seem like an unreachable goal but we can slowly work towards achieving it through gradual lifestyle and social changes.  
    603 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • If I was a New York Times blogger or Washington Post (I am allowed to dream) I think my editor would have had my head by now. I have a habit of writing my blogs at the last minute because funny enough that is when inspiration seems to strike me or that is when I can no longer stew on a topic and I have to write it down. You may ask why I continue to write if the pressure to deliver is so high but writing my weekly entries has taught me how to honor commitment and frankly I enjoy penning my thoughts down but I digress. A few days ago we were enjoying a few drinks with some of our colleagues and we discussed a lot of issues and cultural food was one of them. I came to realize that Cameroon and specifically the Bamileke have very diverse dishes to choose from, be it from the meat, vegetables and the roots. To be honest I was a bit jealous because my tribe (Kikuyu) is known for many things but diversity in their cuisine is not one of them.   Our discussion got me thinking about the food crisis that continues to face our world. According to the World Food Program 795-216 million people are undernourished and do not get enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to human health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The report goes on to list the main causes of hunger as conflict, natural disasters, poverty and poor agricultural practices and over exploitation of resources.  Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world at 23.3% or almost one in every four people.   In Kenya an estimated 1.6 million people are considered food insecure with global rates of acute malnutrition is between 24-37% which is beyond the 15% emergency threshold provided by the World Health Organization. I cannot count how many times Kenyan citizens have come together under the umbrella of Red Cross to mobilize funds to feed the hungry in the Northern part of the country which is majorly an arid and semi-arid zone. Sadly, this has only served as a short term relief measure and a long term solution is yet to be fully implemented. Hence, in every few years the country is caught off guard and we end up losing lives and sources of income especially for the pastoralist communities.    On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), goal number two is to end hunger which is closely tied to goal number one which is to end poverty. The target is to ensure access by all people to safe nutritious food all year round by 2030. Governments hope to achieve this by doubling the agricultural productivity, ensuring secure and equal access to land, implementing resilient agricultural practices that will increase productivity and production and maintaining genetic diversity of seeds, plants, domestic animals among others like political reforms.    I think it is a shame that with all the advancements humans have made in the 21st Century feeding themselves sufficiently remains a big challenge. What I think should be on this list as well are communities adopting new food sources that are not traditionally considered as culturally acceptable. It is sad to have people die out of hunger when food surrounds them only because the said food is not acceptable in their culture. If we are to beat world hunger and especially in Africa we will have to think outside the box. We need to start considering other sources of food even as we implement other actions. Bugs like crickets, termites, beetles, and caterpillars are sources of food in parts of Central and West Africa and we could look into investing in breeding them and supplying our markets. I do not know how many of us me included would consider frogs, snakes or bats as delicacies without gagging but the truth of the matter is there are people who have been eating them for years and they are well and breathing so we shouldn’t be any different. The vision we have for 2030 does not have to seem like an unreachable goal but we can slowly work towards achieving it through gradual lifestyle and social changes.  
    Jun 06, 2016 603
  • 04 Jun 2016
    After my first blog, I went and did more research based on the feedback I got from readers. One thing that came out is that most were skeptical on the possibility of EVs – electric cars – taking over the mobility industry. I do not want to convince you; I just want you to reason with me. I have a lot to share with regards to electromobility; this is because I view EVs as part of disruptive technologies that will change our current ‘normal’ in the near future. Recently I followed through videos of the Swedbank Nordic Energy Summit in Oslo, Norway, that was held on March this year. I was particularly captivated by one Tony Seba’s Keynote presentation on Clean Disruption. He expounded clearly on disruptive technologies and how they will affect energy and transportation in the near future. He also pointed out that the experts often get it wrong as they give predictions that are later made obsolete by disruptive technologies. I believe you have come across some of infamous quotes made by renowned people that were later disapproved. Check out some of the ‘Expert’ Disruption Forecasts: “The internet will catastrophically collapse in 1996.” Robert Metcalfe, 1995  “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977 "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903. "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." -- Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876. You notice that it’s usually the ‘experts’ and ‘insiders’ who dismiss Disruptive Opportunities. Take this elaborate example. In the mid-1980s, AT&T hired McKinsey & Co to forecast cell phone adoption by the year 2000. Their prediction was 900,000. The low number made AT&T believe their landline business would prosper, therefore, ignored entering the mobile phone business. However, it was off by a whopping 120 times. The actual number in the year 2000 was 109 million. This means that AT&T missed out on multi-trillion-dollar opportunity by ignoring cell phone business.   I wonder why smart people are the ones that consistently fail to anticipate or lead market disruption. Disruption has occurred in the past, and it is in the course of happening now. Recently, the entry of smartphone not only affected the mobile phone industry such as kicking Nokia and the like out of the market, but is currently affecting the banking, marketing, and several other sectors. Although smartphones were expensive compared to the mainstream, its superior nature made it attractive to the market. The technology cost curve then decreased making it the preferred gadget over other phones. Let’s look at Uber; a technology that is currently leading a market disruption that is likely to affect the concept of car ownership globally. Its taking a bottom-up approach and the smartphone is essential in assisting in the disruption. Compared to taxis, Uber is cheaper, better, faster, and customizable. That is the reason it has been able to spread faster globally even though it is based on a rather simple business model. It hit the industry so hard to an extent that taxi business owners in some parts of the world protested bitterly. The main contention when it comes to EVs is the energy storage and the mileage after charge. There are several battery mega factories that are coming up such as Tesla and BYD. Besides reduced costs, the energy storage density will also improve. It is very similar to the evolution of the smartphones; within a short-time, several other companies came on board driving the prices down while at the same time, improving the technology. One may argue that it is not right to compare disruption in the car industry to that of the mobile phones. But we have never experienced the dominance of electric cars on our roads. One thing I admire is the exponential growth of technologies that support the EV industry.  Besides energy storage, there are advancement towards autonomous driving that many are still skeptical about. There are ongoing trials in most parts of the developed world with Germany, Spain and the Netherlands allowing testing robotic cars in traffic. In addition, cities in France, Belgium, Italy and the UK planning to operate transport systems for driverless cars. I was surprised to find out that the cost of producing the sensor needed to facilitate autonomous driving dropped from $70,000 in 2012 to $250 in 2016. It’s difficult to explain such drastic drop in prices. I look at it as a result of amalgamation of different improving technologies that make the final product better but cheap. The same case applies to EVs, by 2019, several companies hope to produce cars selling for $20,000 with shorter time for charging and longer mileage. I guess I have written much about EVs already. Although predicting the future is not easy, I hope looking at disruptive technologies in general has given you a picture of what is bound to happen.  Please note that Stone Age did not end due to lack of rocks, but because disruptive technology led to Bronze Age. Currently, the world is used to a centralized, extraction-resource-based energy sources such as oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. However, such will be disrupted by superior technologies that have better business models. With regards to EVs, TESLA Model S was chosen as the best car ever by the American consumers in 2013. It is currently the best-selling high-end large luxury car beating leaders such as Rolls-Royce, BMW, Audi and Chevy Equinox. Looking into the future, if the business model adopted by Uber and the autonomous driving of EVs become part of our future, there will be no need to own a car, and therefore need for parking spaces as vehicles will be in constant motion unless charging.
    823 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • After my first blog, I went and did more research based on the feedback I got from readers. One thing that came out is that most were skeptical on the possibility of EVs – electric cars – taking over the mobility industry. I do not want to convince you; I just want you to reason with me. I have a lot to share with regards to electromobility; this is because I view EVs as part of disruptive technologies that will change our current ‘normal’ in the near future. Recently I followed through videos of the Swedbank Nordic Energy Summit in Oslo, Norway, that was held on March this year. I was particularly captivated by one Tony Seba’s Keynote presentation on Clean Disruption. He expounded clearly on disruptive technologies and how they will affect energy and transportation in the near future. He also pointed out that the experts often get it wrong as they give predictions that are later made obsolete by disruptive technologies. I believe you have come across some of infamous quotes made by renowned people that were later disapproved. Check out some of the ‘Expert’ Disruption Forecasts: “The internet will catastrophically collapse in 1996.” Robert Metcalfe, 1995  “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977 "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903. "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." -- Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876. You notice that it’s usually the ‘experts’ and ‘insiders’ who dismiss Disruptive Opportunities. Take this elaborate example. In the mid-1980s, AT&T hired McKinsey & Co to forecast cell phone adoption by the year 2000. Their prediction was 900,000. The low number made AT&T believe their landline business would prosper, therefore, ignored entering the mobile phone business. However, it was off by a whopping 120 times. The actual number in the year 2000 was 109 million. This means that AT&T missed out on multi-trillion-dollar opportunity by ignoring cell phone business.   I wonder why smart people are the ones that consistently fail to anticipate or lead market disruption. Disruption has occurred in the past, and it is in the course of happening now. Recently, the entry of smartphone not only affected the mobile phone industry such as kicking Nokia and the like out of the market, but is currently affecting the banking, marketing, and several other sectors. Although smartphones were expensive compared to the mainstream, its superior nature made it attractive to the market. The technology cost curve then decreased making it the preferred gadget over other phones. Let’s look at Uber; a technology that is currently leading a market disruption that is likely to affect the concept of car ownership globally. Its taking a bottom-up approach and the smartphone is essential in assisting in the disruption. Compared to taxis, Uber is cheaper, better, faster, and customizable. That is the reason it has been able to spread faster globally even though it is based on a rather simple business model. It hit the industry so hard to an extent that taxi business owners in some parts of the world protested bitterly. The main contention when it comes to EVs is the energy storage and the mileage after charge. There are several battery mega factories that are coming up such as Tesla and BYD. Besides reduced costs, the energy storage density will also improve. It is very similar to the evolution of the smartphones; within a short-time, several other companies came on board driving the prices down while at the same time, improving the technology. One may argue that it is not right to compare disruption in the car industry to that of the mobile phones. But we have never experienced the dominance of electric cars on our roads. One thing I admire is the exponential growth of technologies that support the EV industry.  Besides energy storage, there are advancement towards autonomous driving that many are still skeptical about. There are ongoing trials in most parts of the developed world with Germany, Spain and the Netherlands allowing testing robotic cars in traffic. In addition, cities in France, Belgium, Italy and the UK planning to operate transport systems for driverless cars. I was surprised to find out that the cost of producing the sensor needed to facilitate autonomous driving dropped from $70,000 in 2012 to $250 in 2016. It’s difficult to explain such drastic drop in prices. I look at it as a result of amalgamation of different improving technologies that make the final product better but cheap. The same case applies to EVs, by 2019, several companies hope to produce cars selling for $20,000 with shorter time for charging and longer mileage. I guess I have written much about EVs already. Although predicting the future is not easy, I hope looking at disruptive technologies in general has given you a picture of what is bound to happen.  Please note that Stone Age did not end due to lack of rocks, but because disruptive technology led to Bronze Age. Currently, the world is used to a centralized, extraction-resource-based energy sources such as oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. However, such will be disrupted by superior technologies that have better business models. With regards to EVs, TESLA Model S was chosen as the best car ever by the American consumers in 2013. It is currently the best-selling high-end large luxury car beating leaders such as Rolls-Royce, BMW, Audi and Chevy Equinox. Looking into the future, if the business model adopted by Uber and the autonomous driving of EVs become part of our future, there will be no need to own a car, and therefore need for parking spaces as vehicles will be in constant motion unless charging.
    Jun 04, 2016 823
  • 01 Jun 2016
    Human beings have a tendency of misusing resources when they are available in abundance but is it a culture? Have you ever had something and you ended up misusing it just because you knew you had it in plenty? Let me go deeper and ask, have you ever mistreated someone just because you thought they would never leave? It is unfortunately human nature to do so. Just look around and see the way people utilize resources. Look at how some leader’s abuse funds to how some companies mistreat interns/entry level employees by overworking while underpaying them. Let’s hit close to home and look at our daily habits. Every human has that one habit of misusing something just because they have it in abundance, be it adding an extra tea spoon of sugar just because you can afford to buy another packet, impulse buying accessories just because you can afford them or leaving the water tap running while you brush your teeth. Is it beginning to make sense and have you ever wondered why? Well for the better part of my youth, I didn’t bother to ask myself why. Resources were willingly and readily provided by my parents, whom I really appreciate and respect for doing so. This attitude however changed when I cleared my high school. In my culture, once you went through your rights of passage, you were expected to fend for yourself. Luckily shelter and food were provided but other expenses, such as leisure activities, be it going out with my palls to buying airtime, I had to sort myself. This meant that the little I made from my small hustle had to be utilized efficiently because I didn’t know when I would get my next pay. Being young, all out to have fun and fact that I was born and raised in the city of Nairobi, Kenya where without money one cannot “survive” meant that I had to come up with innovative ways to make money. It became a case of necessity being the mother of all invention. Fast forward to university and post university: I consider myself blessed to have done my industrial attachments, internships and gained some work experience as an engineer in multinational FCMG industries where I saw the impact of efficiency first hand on a personal, company and economic level. On a personal level, efficiency was important in terms of proper time management. On a company level, I happen to have been involved in some projects that improved on both energy and systems efficiency, subsequently seeing the company’s operation costs reduce by a significant percentage resulting to higher profit margins. On an economic level, well, it is obvious to state that the higher the profit margin, the higher the plough back which led to increased employment opportunities due to the expansion of the industry and higher direct tax paid to the government. So this brings me to the question, could our poor emphasis on efficient use of resources be one of the many reasons why Africa is still lagging behind in terms of clean energy access? I believe that this is definitely one of the reasons. Look at it from this point of view – Kenya, my homeland, has a Vision 2022 to increase electricity generation to over 5,000MW mostly from renewables. So as to achieve this target, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum comes up with a budget annually. In this budget we find allocations in expanding both the electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Well that’s awesome because it is evident that there is a strong correlation between clean energy access i.e. electricity and better quality of life. But here is the issue - currently, it is approximated that the loss of energy through waste and inefficiency ranges between 10%-30% of primary energy input across all the sectors in the country. If we consider that there is currently a total installed capacity of 2,295 MW, it would mean that 230MW-690MW is lost due to inefficiency across the distribution and utilization system. This is sad because if Kenya was more energy efficient, we would save on the capital intensive electricity generation infrastructure required to generate a similar capacity and divert the capital to more wanting sectors like the health sector. It will be even sadder if Kenya continues with this inefficiency trend while working towards the 5000MW target. Just to add insult to injury, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya’s industrial sector has an energy saving potential of US$ 20 Million annually. This means that the US$ 20M is literally going down the drain. I’m sure if Kenya were to attain proper efficiencies, such kind of money could be enough to set up a new processing industry every year and create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. So how can we promote this culture of using energy efficiently so as to improve on sustainability? Well, there are many ways to tackle this bad habit of inefficiency. One can take a zoomed out system approach and figure out why this inefficiency culture exists. For my argument, I choose to take a human use (demand side management) approach because I believe that in any system, a change in human behavior is the basic foundation for any logical change. In other words, if I may use computer science terms, humans are the ones who control whether it will be ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ or ‘Gold In, Gold Out’. Step one is change from within. There is a saying I once read that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Well look at energy efficiency as an opportunity to conserve the scarce resource so that one more person can have the opportunity to be connected to the National Grid. If you are more money minded like I am, take this as an opportunity to reduce on your utilities bills. Second step is to pass this habit of efficiency to the people around you by being an efficiency ambassador. You can throw in a few sensitization posters and meetings but the most effective way that has been proven to work, is through action. Actions speak louder than words. Through simple actions such as shutting off a dripping tap, switching off a light on a well-lit day while in the company of people or even offering to car pool to and from work with colleagues, you will make them realize that they are wasteful and that it’s their personal responsibility to ensure that resources are used efficiently. Sooner or later, through such continuous efforts the habit of conservation and efficiency will rub off on them. Third step is to incorporate energy efficiency technologies in your day to day operations. This is a way of handling the old dogs who cannot be taught new tricks. There are those around you who will, either willingly or unwillingly, not take up this energy efficiency habit. One will therefore have to find a way to conserve and efficiently use the energy either way. Approaches that can be used for such cases include installation of LED lighting, use of photocell sensors to turn on lights only when it is dark, motion and occupancy sensors to put on lights only when someone is in the room and push taps to dispense water for a specified time interval. If you are in a work place setting, encourage the management to adapt the building to be more energy efficient by taking advantage of natural resources for ventilation and lighting, solar lighting and heating. In an industrial setting, encourage the use of more efficient boilers, premium efficiency motors, and use of common means of transportation i.e. Staff bus instead of personal cars. This will definitely involve some high initial costs but the payback will be worth it due to savings made. Consequent steps will involve continuous improvement. Just like my secondary school teacher once told me, always ensure you are better than your previous assignment. Make sure you don’t give up and keep pushing to ensure energy efficiency around you is realized. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Be bold enough to make the world a better place by embracing efficiency as a first step in ensuring sustainable living.
    564 Posted by Amon Kevin Gachuri
  • Human beings have a tendency of misusing resources when they are available in abundance but is it a culture? Have you ever had something and you ended up misusing it just because you knew you had it in plenty? Let me go deeper and ask, have you ever mistreated someone just because you thought they would never leave? It is unfortunately human nature to do so. Just look around and see the way people utilize resources. Look at how some leader’s abuse funds to how some companies mistreat interns/entry level employees by overworking while underpaying them. Let’s hit close to home and look at our daily habits. Every human has that one habit of misusing something just because they have it in abundance, be it adding an extra tea spoon of sugar just because you can afford to buy another packet, impulse buying accessories just because you can afford them or leaving the water tap running while you brush your teeth. Is it beginning to make sense and have you ever wondered why? Well for the better part of my youth, I didn’t bother to ask myself why. Resources were willingly and readily provided by my parents, whom I really appreciate and respect for doing so. This attitude however changed when I cleared my high school. In my culture, once you went through your rights of passage, you were expected to fend for yourself. Luckily shelter and food were provided but other expenses, such as leisure activities, be it going out with my palls to buying airtime, I had to sort myself. This meant that the little I made from my small hustle had to be utilized efficiently because I didn’t know when I would get my next pay. Being young, all out to have fun and fact that I was born and raised in the city of Nairobi, Kenya where without money one cannot “survive” meant that I had to come up with innovative ways to make money. It became a case of necessity being the mother of all invention. Fast forward to university and post university: I consider myself blessed to have done my industrial attachments, internships and gained some work experience as an engineer in multinational FCMG industries where I saw the impact of efficiency first hand on a personal, company and economic level. On a personal level, efficiency was important in terms of proper time management. On a company level, I happen to have been involved in some projects that improved on both energy and systems efficiency, subsequently seeing the company’s operation costs reduce by a significant percentage resulting to higher profit margins. On an economic level, well, it is obvious to state that the higher the profit margin, the higher the plough back which led to increased employment opportunities due to the expansion of the industry and higher direct tax paid to the government. So this brings me to the question, could our poor emphasis on efficient use of resources be one of the many reasons why Africa is still lagging behind in terms of clean energy access? I believe that this is definitely one of the reasons. Look at it from this point of view – Kenya, my homeland, has a Vision 2022 to increase electricity generation to over 5,000MW mostly from renewables. So as to achieve this target, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum comes up with a budget annually. In this budget we find allocations in expanding both the electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Well that’s awesome because it is evident that there is a strong correlation between clean energy access i.e. electricity and better quality of life. But here is the issue - currently, it is approximated that the loss of energy through waste and inefficiency ranges between 10%-30% of primary energy input across all the sectors in the country. If we consider that there is currently a total installed capacity of 2,295 MW, it would mean that 230MW-690MW is lost due to inefficiency across the distribution and utilization system. This is sad because if Kenya was more energy efficient, we would save on the capital intensive electricity generation infrastructure required to generate a similar capacity and divert the capital to more wanting sectors like the health sector. It will be even sadder if Kenya continues with this inefficiency trend while working towards the 5000MW target. Just to add insult to injury, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya’s industrial sector has an energy saving potential of US$ 20 Million annually. This means that the US$ 20M is literally going down the drain. I’m sure if Kenya were to attain proper efficiencies, such kind of money could be enough to set up a new processing industry every year and create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. So how can we promote this culture of using energy efficiently so as to improve on sustainability? Well, there are many ways to tackle this bad habit of inefficiency. One can take a zoomed out system approach and figure out why this inefficiency culture exists. For my argument, I choose to take a human use (demand side management) approach because I believe that in any system, a change in human behavior is the basic foundation for any logical change. In other words, if I may use computer science terms, humans are the ones who control whether it will be ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ or ‘Gold In, Gold Out’. Step one is change from within. There is a saying I once read that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Well look at energy efficiency as an opportunity to conserve the scarce resource so that one more person can have the opportunity to be connected to the National Grid. If you are more money minded like I am, take this as an opportunity to reduce on your utilities bills. Second step is to pass this habit of efficiency to the people around you by being an efficiency ambassador. You can throw in a few sensitization posters and meetings but the most effective way that has been proven to work, is through action. Actions speak louder than words. Through simple actions such as shutting off a dripping tap, switching off a light on a well-lit day while in the company of people or even offering to car pool to and from work with colleagues, you will make them realize that they are wasteful and that it’s their personal responsibility to ensure that resources are used efficiently. Sooner or later, through such continuous efforts the habit of conservation and efficiency will rub off on them. Third step is to incorporate energy efficiency technologies in your day to day operations. This is a way of handling the old dogs who cannot be taught new tricks. There are those around you who will, either willingly or unwillingly, not take up this energy efficiency habit. One will therefore have to find a way to conserve and efficiently use the energy either way. Approaches that can be used for such cases include installation of LED lighting, use of photocell sensors to turn on lights only when it is dark, motion and occupancy sensors to put on lights only when someone is in the room and push taps to dispense water for a specified time interval. If you are in a work place setting, encourage the management to adapt the building to be more energy efficient by taking advantage of natural resources for ventilation and lighting, solar lighting and heating. In an industrial setting, encourage the use of more efficient boilers, premium efficiency motors, and use of common means of transportation i.e. Staff bus instead of personal cars. This will definitely involve some high initial costs but the payback will be worth it due to savings made. Consequent steps will involve continuous improvement. Just like my secondary school teacher once told me, always ensure you are better than your previous assignment. Make sure you don’t give up and keep pushing to ensure energy efficiency around you is realized. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Be bold enough to make the world a better place by embracing efficiency as a first step in ensuring sustainable living.
    Jun 01, 2016 564
  • 31 May 2016
    I have thought about starting my own blog on COP for a while now. However, I have remained adamantly ‘lazy’ resulting in the decision to start dragging for some time now. It only took the realization that I was losing some of my ‘soft skills’, therefore, urgently needed to do something. I am particularly thrilled with what is happening in the technological field especially on electromobility. I believe the technology is not mature as for now, but a lot of R&D is ongoing that will see it viable and cheap in the next few years. Most technologies in their early years were expensive and deemed as luxury for the rich. But after more research, they ended up being cheap and of even better quality that the initial products. It is essential to look into the path taken by these technologies and relate it with the developments made in electromobility. Take the case of smartphones. Did you know that development of smartphones started way back in the early 1990s? Yes, several companies tried their hands on developing a combined telephone and computer. One of the flagship devices was Apple’s tablet Apple Newton PDA or MessagePad that had handwriting recognition. After being launched in 1993 at a retail price of $700, the end users complained that it had inaccurate handwriting. The high price also meant only a few hundred thousand units were sold before it was removed from the market in 1998. However, a breakthrough was made by the same company through introduction of the iPad. Apart from Apple, Nokia tried its hand on smartphone and launched Nokia Communicator in 1996. The NOKIA 9000 Communicator was considered a convenient device because of combined phone and computer. It had 8MB of memory and 33MHz processor. The screen was black and white LCD with a ‘high resolution’ of 640 × 200 pixel – was the best at the time. Imagine those specifications and you had to part with $800 to have that device. Now that everyone loves selfies, I am obliged to check out the evolution of the digital camera before I move back to the issue of electromobility. You will be surprised that Logitech, not Nikon or Canon, made the first digital camera. Their flagship, Logitech Fotoman, retailed at $980 in 1993! And the specifications were ridiculous compared to what we have in the market today; 1MB of internal memory holding 32 shots only at a resolution of 320 × 240 pixel. Was there anything special? Yes, you could ‘save’ money on developing photos. However, you could not preview the photos without connecting to your computer. Looking at all those and many more technologies, you will agree with me that we have not yet seen the best in electric cars. Traditional car companies have continuously aimed at perfecting the internal combustion engine. However, the need to go green is pushing them out of their comfort zone. We do not know what will come of it, but I have no doubt that electromobility will overcome the present challenges in the near future. When it happens, do not be surprised to see more electric vehicles on the roads even in your village in Africa than those using fuel. The G7 countries have set 2025 as the year subsidies on fossil fuel will be fully eliminated. Looking closely at the trend, more companies are also coming up in a bid to outdo the traditional car manufacturing companies with regards to development of electric cars. When the technology becomes mature, we will only look back and laugh at the flaws and the high price tag attached to the present electric cars. I also believe the rate of development is faster now than it was before super computers. Who thought that a smartphone sold for $980 in 1996 would have improved features to those we have in the market today at lower prices? For electric cars, we haven’t even started yet.  I hope you will one day drive me in your super car sometimes in the near future.
    692 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • I have thought about starting my own blog on COP for a while now. However, I have remained adamantly ‘lazy’ resulting in the decision to start dragging for some time now. It only took the realization that I was losing some of my ‘soft skills’, therefore, urgently needed to do something. I am particularly thrilled with what is happening in the technological field especially on electromobility. I believe the technology is not mature as for now, but a lot of R&D is ongoing that will see it viable and cheap in the next few years. Most technologies in their early years were expensive and deemed as luxury for the rich. But after more research, they ended up being cheap and of even better quality that the initial products. It is essential to look into the path taken by these technologies and relate it with the developments made in electromobility. Take the case of smartphones. Did you know that development of smartphones started way back in the early 1990s? Yes, several companies tried their hands on developing a combined telephone and computer. One of the flagship devices was Apple’s tablet Apple Newton PDA or MessagePad that had handwriting recognition. After being launched in 1993 at a retail price of $700, the end users complained that it had inaccurate handwriting. The high price also meant only a few hundred thousand units were sold before it was removed from the market in 1998. However, a breakthrough was made by the same company through introduction of the iPad. Apart from Apple, Nokia tried its hand on smartphone and launched Nokia Communicator in 1996. The NOKIA 9000 Communicator was considered a convenient device because of combined phone and computer. It had 8MB of memory and 33MHz processor. The screen was black and white LCD with a ‘high resolution’ of 640 × 200 pixel – was the best at the time. Imagine those specifications and you had to part with $800 to have that device. Now that everyone loves selfies, I am obliged to check out the evolution of the digital camera before I move back to the issue of electromobility. You will be surprised that Logitech, not Nikon or Canon, made the first digital camera. Their flagship, Logitech Fotoman, retailed at $980 in 1993! And the specifications were ridiculous compared to what we have in the market today; 1MB of internal memory holding 32 shots only at a resolution of 320 × 240 pixel. Was there anything special? Yes, you could ‘save’ money on developing photos. However, you could not preview the photos without connecting to your computer. Looking at all those and many more technologies, you will agree with me that we have not yet seen the best in electric cars. Traditional car companies have continuously aimed at perfecting the internal combustion engine. However, the need to go green is pushing them out of their comfort zone. We do not know what will come of it, but I have no doubt that electromobility will overcome the present challenges in the near future. When it happens, do not be surprised to see more electric vehicles on the roads even in your village in Africa than those using fuel. The G7 countries have set 2025 as the year subsidies on fossil fuel will be fully eliminated. Looking closely at the trend, more companies are also coming up in a bid to outdo the traditional car manufacturing companies with regards to development of electric cars. When the technology becomes mature, we will only look back and laugh at the flaws and the high price tag attached to the present electric cars. I also believe the rate of development is faster now than it was before super computers. Who thought that a smartphone sold for $980 in 1996 would have improved features to those we have in the market today at lower prices? For electric cars, we haven’t even started yet.  I hope you will one day drive me in your super car sometimes in the near future.
    May 31, 2016 692
  • 30 May 2016
    The past few days have been particularly difficult for me and saw my dad get admitted to the hospital for about five days. I knew he was unwell and his sugar level had been abnormally high but I did not think it would warrant a stay at the hospital. So you can imagine my shock and panic when I received a message telling me he had been admitted.  I called him right away and he sounded very weak and tired and it made me all weepy because I knew he was hurting and there is nothing I could do about it. More frustrating for me was not being able to see him and verifying for myself that he was going to be alright, so I called him and my mum everyday and somehow I found some peace in that. Luckily I had a very strong support system around me and that helped some and he is now back home healthy as a horse.   During this period I remember writing to a good friend of mine and telling him I was thinking of turning down an internship offer I had received because I needed to get home immediately after the end of the semester. He was very empathetic  with me but reminded me that sometimes being away from our loved ones is the cost we have to pay to make them proud and better ourselves. It made me think of what all of us have had to give up by being here. Some left little kids and a partner behind and they have missed some important milestones in their young lives and yet they keep going. Some have missed important occasions like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and a chance to properly bid farewell to a fallen loved one. For some they have seen relationships crumble because they could not withstand the test of distance. So this brings me to the big question, is it really worth it?    I believe with all my being that the sacrifices I have made have been worth every moment I have missed. Forget the academics even though that is why we are all here but think of all other opportunities that have come our way. I feel like coming to this country was necessary for me in order to start the journey to self discovery and growth. I might have been working before but my level of confidence has tripled over the past couple of months and I have grown into my own person. I have had a chance to find things that I am deeply passionate about and made connections with people I never thought I could stand a chance of meeting. Strangers have become family even though different blood runs in our veins. I continue to learn and make mistakes but the bottom line is I simply refuse to leave the same way I came.   That is my hope for all of us. That we may find something we are good at or care enough about while we are here and channel all our energy into making ourselves better. Like Foster Ofosu from the African Development Bank said during the International Water and Energy Fair; no one owes us anything other than ourselves. We have to motivate ourselves and knock on those doors that we have been made to believe cannot open for one reason or another. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to exploit every opportunity provided so that when our time is done here every sacrifice we have made will be worth it. Eventually you will find that what you consider to be the greatest sacrifice now will prove to be one of the greatest investments you could ever make.
    538 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • The past few days have been particularly difficult for me and saw my dad get admitted to the hospital for about five days. I knew he was unwell and his sugar level had been abnormally high but I did not think it would warrant a stay at the hospital. So you can imagine my shock and panic when I received a message telling me he had been admitted.  I called him right away and he sounded very weak and tired and it made me all weepy because I knew he was hurting and there is nothing I could do about it. More frustrating for me was not being able to see him and verifying for myself that he was going to be alright, so I called him and my mum everyday and somehow I found some peace in that. Luckily I had a very strong support system around me and that helped some and he is now back home healthy as a horse.   During this period I remember writing to a good friend of mine and telling him I was thinking of turning down an internship offer I had received because I needed to get home immediately after the end of the semester. He was very empathetic  with me but reminded me that sometimes being away from our loved ones is the cost we have to pay to make them proud and better ourselves. It made me think of what all of us have had to give up by being here. Some left little kids and a partner behind and they have missed some important milestones in their young lives and yet they keep going. Some have missed important occasions like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and a chance to properly bid farewell to a fallen loved one. For some they have seen relationships crumble because they could not withstand the test of distance. So this brings me to the big question, is it really worth it?    I believe with all my being that the sacrifices I have made have been worth every moment I have missed. Forget the academics even though that is why we are all here but think of all other opportunities that have come our way. I feel like coming to this country was necessary for me in order to start the journey to self discovery and growth. I might have been working before but my level of confidence has tripled over the past couple of months and I have grown into my own person. I have had a chance to find things that I am deeply passionate about and made connections with people I never thought I could stand a chance of meeting. Strangers have become family even though different blood runs in our veins. I continue to learn and make mistakes but the bottom line is I simply refuse to leave the same way I came.   That is my hope for all of us. That we may find something we are good at or care enough about while we are here and channel all our energy into making ourselves better. Like Foster Ofosu from the African Development Bank said during the International Water and Energy Fair; no one owes us anything other than ourselves. We have to motivate ourselves and knock on those doors that we have been made to believe cannot open for one reason or another. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to exploit every opportunity provided so that when our time is done here every sacrifice we have made will be worth it. Eventually you will find that what you consider to be the greatest sacrifice now will prove to be one of the greatest investments you could ever make.
    May 30, 2016 538
  • 23 May 2016
    A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on endangered species and it generated quiet a discussion which I must say I greatly enjoyed and hope to stimulate with every post. The views on what should have been done to the over 100 tones of elephants and rhinos ivory Kenya chose to burn were valid and for good reason. However, I think we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and not just the single act of the ivory burn. Poaching and selling of ivory are considered as acts of wild animal trafficking which according to INTERPOL is the third largest illegal business in the world after drug and arms trafficking. It is among other activities like illegal logging, electronic waste mismanagement, fining and illegal fishing which are considered as environmental crimes.   Environmental crimes are a violation to the environmental laws put into place to protect the environment and involve all illegal acts that directly cause harm to the environment. According to the United Nations and INTERPOL, environmental crime businesses generate between $70 billion and $213 billion each year. That is a staggering amount considering that most of these crimes go unpunished and the true perpetrators are never caught. What makes this a dangerous trade is that the biggest percentages of these finances go towards financing militia, criminal and terrorist groups. Let me try and break it down for you; The ivory global trade is estimated to be worth around $1 billion every year and a kilogram of a sharks fin is worth 600 Euros. That may not seem significant but picture this, every year 100 million sharks are captured and out of these 75% are only caught for their fins and then thrown back to the ocean to a slow painful death. Forest crimes which include illegal logging are estimated to be worth over $30 billion annually.   We live in a time where security is no longer guaranteed. Terrorism has spread fear in the hearts of many and the illusion of public safety is slowly fading. What we fail to realize is that most of the terrorist activities are funded by engaging in environmental crimes. For example, the al shabaab from Somalia rely heavily on illegal exports of charcoal worth $360 million to $384 million to finance their activities. It is no secret that al shabaab has taken credit of wounding and killing hundreds of civilians in East Africa. Africa’s most unstable countries of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic provide a safe haven for poachers, miners and illegal loggers who make part of an elaborate network that support militia groups like those of Lord Joseph Koni from Uganda.   The effects of environmental crimes are too many to count and the destruction left in its wake too huge to quantify. We have had animals pushed to the blink of extinction as the middle class in Asia seeks to acquire societal status. Women and children have been enslaved by warlords who take over villages next to national parks as they seek their next kill. Let us not forget the rangers who have been killed in the line of duty or the innocent civilians who continue to be killed the world over through acts of terrorism. It is really a sickening trade one that has been fueled by corruption in government institutions, weak environmental legislations, and unemployment and abject poverty.   It is clear that environmental crimes affect countries at the national and community level. What we need is a system overhaul if this war is to be won because believe me it is a war. The biggest obstacle to winning this war is corruption and it needs to be addressed so that there is effective implementation of environmental laws and prosecution of offenders. Communities living near environmental protected areas need to be economically empowered so that they are not easily lured into illegal activities. Involving them in managing such environmental resources and creating awareness would be one way of creating a sense of ownership and creating policing networks. Above all countries need to rise together in one voice and cooperate in ensuring that the environmental resources are sustainably used and protected even beyond their borders. We owe it to ourselves to protect the beauty of our world from the greedy few.
    627 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on endangered species and it generated quiet a discussion which I must say I greatly enjoyed and hope to stimulate with every post. The views on what should have been done to the over 100 tones of elephants and rhinos ivory Kenya chose to burn were valid and for good reason. However, I think we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and not just the single act of the ivory burn. Poaching and selling of ivory are considered as acts of wild animal trafficking which according to INTERPOL is the third largest illegal business in the world after drug and arms trafficking. It is among other activities like illegal logging, electronic waste mismanagement, fining and illegal fishing which are considered as environmental crimes.   Environmental crimes are a violation to the environmental laws put into place to protect the environment and involve all illegal acts that directly cause harm to the environment. According to the United Nations and INTERPOL, environmental crime businesses generate between $70 billion and $213 billion each year. That is a staggering amount considering that most of these crimes go unpunished and the true perpetrators are never caught. What makes this a dangerous trade is that the biggest percentages of these finances go towards financing militia, criminal and terrorist groups. Let me try and break it down for you; The ivory global trade is estimated to be worth around $1 billion every year and a kilogram of a sharks fin is worth 600 Euros. That may not seem significant but picture this, every year 100 million sharks are captured and out of these 75% are only caught for their fins and then thrown back to the ocean to a slow painful death. Forest crimes which include illegal logging are estimated to be worth over $30 billion annually.   We live in a time where security is no longer guaranteed. Terrorism has spread fear in the hearts of many and the illusion of public safety is slowly fading. What we fail to realize is that most of the terrorist activities are funded by engaging in environmental crimes. For example, the al shabaab from Somalia rely heavily on illegal exports of charcoal worth $360 million to $384 million to finance their activities. It is no secret that al shabaab has taken credit of wounding and killing hundreds of civilians in East Africa. Africa’s most unstable countries of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic provide a safe haven for poachers, miners and illegal loggers who make part of an elaborate network that support militia groups like those of Lord Joseph Koni from Uganda.   The effects of environmental crimes are too many to count and the destruction left in its wake too huge to quantify. We have had animals pushed to the blink of extinction as the middle class in Asia seeks to acquire societal status. Women and children have been enslaved by warlords who take over villages next to national parks as they seek their next kill. Let us not forget the rangers who have been killed in the line of duty or the innocent civilians who continue to be killed the world over through acts of terrorism. It is really a sickening trade one that has been fueled by corruption in government institutions, weak environmental legislations, and unemployment and abject poverty.   It is clear that environmental crimes affect countries at the national and community level. What we need is a system overhaul if this war is to be won because believe me it is a war. The biggest obstacle to winning this war is corruption and it needs to be addressed so that there is effective implementation of environmental laws and prosecution of offenders. Communities living near environmental protected areas need to be economically empowered so that they are not easily lured into illegal activities. Involving them in managing such environmental resources and creating awareness would be one way of creating a sense of ownership and creating policing networks. Above all countries need to rise together in one voice and cooperate in ensuring that the environmental resources are sustainably used and protected even beyond their borders. We owe it to ourselves to protect the beauty of our world from the greedy few.
    May 23, 2016 627
  • 16 May 2016
    I have been battling about writing this piece for a long time, majorly because I do not think I can do it the justice it deserves. I have many memories from childhood and some are a bit fuzzy but not for this particular incidence. I can still see myself sitting on my favorite seat watching the international weekly news roundup. I remember watching as dozens of people migrated from their homes in search of safety and thousands were reported dead. To be honest I felt far removed from these events and I didn’t pay it much attention until recently. Since moving to Algeria I have come to meet people who know the horrors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They have shared the stories of the survivors and those who were not so lucky to escape and in more times than one I have begged them to stop because it made me sick to my stomach. I have often wondered what the survivors would think of me and my cowardly reaction. I hide from hearing the truth while they lived it for 100 days with no escape. They begged them to stop but no one listened, not even the international community that turned a deaf ear to their plea for help.   Approximately 1,000,000 men, women and children were killed and estimated 150,000-250,000 women were raped between the months of 7th April to 4th July 1994 in what is commonly referred to as 100 days of slaughter. It must have felt like a life time hoping that help would eventually come and realizing the world did not consider them a priority and they would have to wait a little longer for salvation to come. I wonder how many died hoping the next day would be better or help would arrive, how many felt the pain of betrayal and abandonment as their flicker of faith in humanity died. It was a period where the name on your identity card could mean the difference between life and death. The target of the attacks was the Tutsi minority as well as any political opponents irrespective of their ethnic background. Families and neighbors turned against each other and the whole country was bleeding. I wonder what would have driven fellow countrymen to such hatred. The root cause has been speculated to be political incitement out of the economic and social inequalities in Rwanda during that time but questions still remain. It is hard to comprehend and 22 years later we may never really get the answers and the closure the victims seek.   Rwanda maybe a unique case in terms of magnitude but the political incitement and ethnic cleansing rituals is not. It is common place for African leaders to divide their countries in ethnic lines in a bid to stay in office or win elective seats. Kenya for example experienced post election violence in 2007 where the presidential elections were heavily disputed. As a result neighbors turned against each other and over 1000 people lost their lives ,thousands were displaced from their homes and property worth millions destroyed. We are now preparing for the 2017 elections and the atmosphere in the country is politically charged and sadly politicians continue to incite the public based on ethnic affiliations with no consequence at all. The tale is the same across the continent on politically incited crashes like in Angola, Central Republic, South Sudan, and Burundi among many others.   How I wish we could all learn from the blood bath in Rwanda 22 years ago. Rwanda has risen from the ashes to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. I like to give my best friend grief over their loyalty to President Paul Kagame but who can blame them really. He is the man who has guided his country to reconciliation and healing and steered the economy on the right direction. To many Rwandeses he is popularly known as a leader who holds those within government accountable for their actions and demands performance in service delivery. He may be a man of many faults like his critics have said but let’s give credit where it is due.   I do not understand politics; it is a dirty game after all. I will never understand how the loss of lives is brushed off as collateral damage so a few people can remain in power or take over the political class. It is like to become a politician you have to trade your conscious for an ice cold heart than has no respect for human lives. We like to blame the west for all our troubles but if we are to apportion blame we deserve the heaviest load on our shoulders. We sit on the sidelines as the politicians squander public funds and resources and invest them in the west. We cheer them when they attack other ethnic groups in a bid to consolidate power and when they are put on trial for crimes against humanity we buy their lies that democracy is under trial. No wonder the west continues to poke their noses in our business since we can’t seem to get our house in order. I wonder when we will decide enough is enough hopefully heavens forbid not after we experience the horrors of Rwanda. ************************************************************************************************************************************************ I asked some of my friends from Rwanda what they wished Africa could learn from the genocide and here is what they had to say; Umulisa Diana: Africa has to realize we are the authors of our own destiny. The west does not create problems for us we do that all by ourselves. We fight against each other and kill but at the end of the day when all the dust settles we are faced by the reality that no one has the solutions we so desperately seek apart from ourselves. We are all we need to rebuild this continent. Pascal Kwisanga: I am Pascal KWISANGA from Rwanda. I was born  in Rwanda and I had been in  Rwanda before the genocide, during the genocide and after the genocide. I was 5 years old when the genocide happened in        Rwanda, I saw a lot of things      and learnt from what   happened and  what is happening in Rwanda. Africaand the            rest ofthe world should learn from what happened        in Rwanda in 1994. Genocide has taken         the life  of a million victims of         Rwandans and other  friends and more thana million became orphans, widowers  and widows. I  know what it means to lose your beloved parents and relatives; it is painful more than you think. Having tribes or clans is not a problem in a society but the way they can be used and be manipulated to the point you can exterminate human-being because of       the actual regime's mindset, this is not humanity. It    is better to help your country as          citizen  not as         regionalism ortribalism to make your country be developed in different        ways.  We don't need  to be used by        the politicians  or actual governments to satisfy their  needs   to destroy our  relationship and friendship but we need to act as a           nation and build our    country together. Hope, unity  and forgiveness are the key weapons  to strengthen our nations.                                                                                                            ENOUGH SAID                  
    839 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I have been battling about writing this piece for a long time, majorly because I do not think I can do it the justice it deserves. I have many memories from childhood and some are a bit fuzzy but not for this particular incidence. I can still see myself sitting on my favorite seat watching the international weekly news roundup. I remember watching as dozens of people migrated from their homes in search of safety and thousands were reported dead. To be honest I felt far removed from these events and I didn’t pay it much attention until recently. Since moving to Algeria I have come to meet people who know the horrors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They have shared the stories of the survivors and those who were not so lucky to escape and in more times than one I have begged them to stop because it made me sick to my stomach. I have often wondered what the survivors would think of me and my cowardly reaction. I hide from hearing the truth while they lived it for 100 days with no escape. They begged them to stop but no one listened, not even the international community that turned a deaf ear to their plea for help.   Approximately 1,000,000 men, women and children were killed and estimated 150,000-250,000 women were raped between the months of 7th April to 4th July 1994 in what is commonly referred to as 100 days of slaughter. It must have felt like a life time hoping that help would eventually come and realizing the world did not consider them a priority and they would have to wait a little longer for salvation to come. I wonder how many died hoping the next day would be better or help would arrive, how many felt the pain of betrayal and abandonment as their flicker of faith in humanity died. It was a period where the name on your identity card could mean the difference between life and death. The target of the attacks was the Tutsi minority as well as any political opponents irrespective of their ethnic background. Families and neighbors turned against each other and the whole country was bleeding. I wonder what would have driven fellow countrymen to such hatred. The root cause has been speculated to be political incitement out of the economic and social inequalities in Rwanda during that time but questions still remain. It is hard to comprehend and 22 years later we may never really get the answers and the closure the victims seek.   Rwanda maybe a unique case in terms of magnitude but the political incitement and ethnic cleansing rituals is not. It is common place for African leaders to divide their countries in ethnic lines in a bid to stay in office or win elective seats. Kenya for example experienced post election violence in 2007 where the presidential elections were heavily disputed. As a result neighbors turned against each other and over 1000 people lost their lives ,thousands were displaced from their homes and property worth millions destroyed. We are now preparing for the 2017 elections and the atmosphere in the country is politically charged and sadly politicians continue to incite the public based on ethnic affiliations with no consequence at all. The tale is the same across the continent on politically incited crashes like in Angola, Central Republic, South Sudan, and Burundi among many others.   How I wish we could all learn from the blood bath in Rwanda 22 years ago. Rwanda has risen from the ashes to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. I like to give my best friend grief over their loyalty to President Paul Kagame but who can blame them really. He is the man who has guided his country to reconciliation and healing and steered the economy on the right direction. To many Rwandeses he is popularly known as a leader who holds those within government accountable for their actions and demands performance in service delivery. He may be a man of many faults like his critics have said but let’s give credit where it is due.   I do not understand politics; it is a dirty game after all. I will never understand how the loss of lives is brushed off as collateral damage so a few people can remain in power or take over the political class. It is like to become a politician you have to trade your conscious for an ice cold heart than has no respect for human lives. We like to blame the west for all our troubles but if we are to apportion blame we deserve the heaviest load on our shoulders. We sit on the sidelines as the politicians squander public funds and resources and invest them in the west. We cheer them when they attack other ethnic groups in a bid to consolidate power and when they are put on trial for crimes against humanity we buy their lies that democracy is under trial. No wonder the west continues to poke their noses in our business since we can’t seem to get our house in order. I wonder when we will decide enough is enough hopefully heavens forbid not after we experience the horrors of Rwanda. ************************************************************************************************************************************************ I asked some of my friends from Rwanda what they wished Africa could learn from the genocide and here is what they had to say; Umulisa Diana: Africa has to realize we are the authors of our own destiny. The west does not create problems for us we do that all by ourselves. We fight against each other and kill but at the end of the day when all the dust settles we are faced by the reality that no one has the solutions we so desperately seek apart from ourselves. We are all we need to rebuild this continent. Pascal Kwisanga: I am Pascal KWISANGA from Rwanda. I was born  in Rwanda and I had been in  Rwanda before the genocide, during the genocide and after the genocide. I was 5 years old when the genocide happened in        Rwanda, I saw a lot of things      and learnt from what   happened and  what is happening in Rwanda. Africaand the            rest ofthe world should learn from what happened        in Rwanda in 1994. Genocide has taken         the life  of a million victims of         Rwandans and other  friends and more thana million became orphans, widowers  and widows. I  know what it means to lose your beloved parents and relatives; it is painful more than you think. Having tribes or clans is not a problem in a society but the way they can be used and be manipulated to the point you can exterminate human-being because of       the actual regime's mindset, this is not humanity. It    is better to help your country as          citizen  not as         regionalism ortribalism to make your country be developed in different        ways.  We don't need  to be used by        the politicians  or actual governments to satisfy their  needs   to destroy our  relationship and friendship but we need to act as a           nation and build our    country together. Hope, unity  and forgiveness are the key weapons  to strengthen our nations.                                                                                                            ENOUGH SAID                  
    May 16, 2016 839
  • 09 May 2016
    I will be honest with you, most times I have no clue what my next blog will be about. It is hard to explain the writing process but unless inspiration strikes most times I just stare on a blank page with a blinking cursor. So as you can imagine it is always a pleasure and relief to come across a subject I can explore and hopefully stimulate a discussion on. I am not a movie lover; in fact you do not want to watch a movie with me because I have to know the ending before I watch one and most times than not I will be talking your ears off about the different characters. I will admit though there are times my nose is pulled out of a book long enough to watch one. This week it was John Q, a movie about a desperate father played by Denzel Washington trying to get his dying son on top of a heart transplant list. A really sad story with a happy dramatic ending, but it raised my interest on organ and tissue donation in Africa.   A quick search on Google gave me very little to go on. In fact, I mainly got statistics from South Africa whose donation ratio is estimated to be 2 to every 1 million. Shocking, I know! Kenya’s situation is worse with for example people suffering from corneal blindness getting their cornea transplants from the USA at a cost of 2000 USD which roughly translates to 200,000 KES. This is an exorbitant fee for most of those seeking a new lease in life so most are condemned to a life of blindness. All the organ banks in Kenya are mostly empty and those who donate are usually living relative trying to save the life of a loved one. The law in most African countries I came to find out is not clear on the guidelines for organ donation so those who can afford it opt to seek medical care outside the continent. So dire is the situation that the black market in organ harvesting is thriving in places like Egypt and South Africa where the poor and refugees are targeted. Their organs are either harvested through coercion, consent or downright theft.   It is clear that there is a big gap between the number of those waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants and those willing to be donors. So why are the majority of us not registered as organ donors when we die? I believe it is for a number of reasons mostly cultural, legal and religious. African cultures believe in the continuity of life and there is really no distinction between the soul, spirit and the body. Giving a part of your body is considered giving up a part of your whole being. On the other hand most religions believe in the continuity of the human spirit yet no one is talking about the benefits our mortal bodies could bring to this world. Over all there is very little information within our belief system for people to begin questioning about the possibilities that exist and what they can do to help. Sadly in this case belief marks the end of reasoning.   I admit signing up as an organ donor after death makes us confront our mortality and it is a hard truth to face. I have flirted with the idea of visiting an organ donation center in Kenya but I have never really committed to it. If I died tomorrow, donating my organs could help give up to seven people a chance to live longer; donating my soft tissue could improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people. I think that is an empowering and selfish thought at the same time. I acknowledge that our cultures and religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in us and sometimes our loved ones may prove to be the biggest obstacles to overcome. What I wish to do is to start a conversation on how we can make lives better even when we are gone or how we can ease our family into the idea that it is alright to share us with the world. I hope that you will visit your physician and have a candid discussion on the alternatives available in your country. Let us be part of the change and the better Africa we want to see even in death!    
    1095 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I will be honest with you, most times I have no clue what my next blog will be about. It is hard to explain the writing process but unless inspiration strikes most times I just stare on a blank page with a blinking cursor. So as you can imagine it is always a pleasure and relief to come across a subject I can explore and hopefully stimulate a discussion on. I am not a movie lover; in fact you do not want to watch a movie with me because I have to know the ending before I watch one and most times than not I will be talking your ears off about the different characters. I will admit though there are times my nose is pulled out of a book long enough to watch one. This week it was John Q, a movie about a desperate father played by Denzel Washington trying to get his dying son on top of a heart transplant list. A really sad story with a happy dramatic ending, but it raised my interest on organ and tissue donation in Africa.   A quick search on Google gave me very little to go on. In fact, I mainly got statistics from South Africa whose donation ratio is estimated to be 2 to every 1 million. Shocking, I know! Kenya’s situation is worse with for example people suffering from corneal blindness getting their cornea transplants from the USA at a cost of 2000 USD which roughly translates to 200,000 KES. This is an exorbitant fee for most of those seeking a new lease in life so most are condemned to a life of blindness. All the organ banks in Kenya are mostly empty and those who donate are usually living relative trying to save the life of a loved one. The law in most African countries I came to find out is not clear on the guidelines for organ donation so those who can afford it opt to seek medical care outside the continent. So dire is the situation that the black market in organ harvesting is thriving in places like Egypt and South Africa where the poor and refugees are targeted. Their organs are either harvested through coercion, consent or downright theft.   It is clear that there is a big gap between the number of those waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants and those willing to be donors. So why are the majority of us not registered as organ donors when we die? I believe it is for a number of reasons mostly cultural, legal and religious. African cultures believe in the continuity of life and there is really no distinction between the soul, spirit and the body. Giving a part of your body is considered giving up a part of your whole being. On the other hand most religions believe in the continuity of the human spirit yet no one is talking about the benefits our mortal bodies could bring to this world. Over all there is very little information within our belief system for people to begin questioning about the possibilities that exist and what they can do to help. Sadly in this case belief marks the end of reasoning.   I admit signing up as an organ donor after death makes us confront our mortality and it is a hard truth to face. I have flirted with the idea of visiting an organ donation center in Kenya but I have never really committed to it. If I died tomorrow, donating my organs could help give up to seven people a chance to live longer; donating my soft tissue could improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people. I think that is an empowering and selfish thought at the same time. I acknowledge that our cultures and religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in us and sometimes our loved ones may prove to be the biggest obstacles to overcome. What I wish to do is to start a conversation on how we can make lives better even when we are gone or how we can ease our family into the idea that it is alright to share us with the world. I hope that you will visit your physician and have a candid discussion on the alternatives available in your country. Let us be part of the change and the better Africa we want to see even in death!    
    May 09, 2016 1095
  • 02 May 2016
    Session 4 The first presenter for this session, Dr. Bertrand Tchanche from the International Institute for Science and Sustainable Development (IISSD), Amiens, France; presented on the “Interdisciplinary Approach to Accelerate Energy Access across Africa”. He holistically explained the disparities in energy resources at national and regional levels in Africa and the energy situation characterized by: a mismatch between the supply deficit and the surplus of untapped potential of renewable energies (wind, hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal); the polluting effects of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) on the environment and the impact on global warming; and the fact that energy was not taken into account as a fundamental and essential factor for sustainable development in political economy. He suggested an interdisciplinary methodology to put in conjunction with engineering and social sciences. This will help overcome barriers to energy access and contribute to sustainable development of communities through appropriate methods that facilitate the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy technologies. His method being also organizational seeks to foster collaboration between different actors and institutions (governments, organizations, communities) in order to implement a regulatory, legal and administrative framework that encourages investors and make reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies. Thereafter came the second presenter, Jerome Ndam Mungwe, from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. The presentation titled was “Sustainable Energization of Rural Areas of Developing Countries. A comprehensive planning approach” highlighted that Access to modern energy and energy related services in developing countries is a double-faced challenge with 1.3 billion people unable to access electricity and 2.6 billion relying on traditional biomass for cooking. According to him, solutions to this challenge can neither be through the isolated promotion of individual technologies nor fuel switching, but rather through a systemic approach to a more comprehensive energy access strategy, with the supply of alternative energy carriers and planning of complete energy solutions via a more comprehensive and sustainable rural energy planning. He further explained that the current approaches to Sustainable Energization do not account for the current energy balance and have not been applied in the context of rural areas. In conclusion, he proposed a comprehensive seven step rural energy planning methodology for the sustainable energization of rural areas in developing countries, which takes into account the current energy balance and integrate energy drivers in the energy services supply network. The application of this approach in a rural context shows a great improvement in the quantity, quality, and variety of accessible and affordable energy services for a more sustainable development of rural areas. The presenter that followed was, Prof Yekeen A. Sanusi, from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, in a presentation titled “Energy Poverty and its Spatial Differences in Nigeria: Reversing the Trend” who clearly pointed out that the high level of poverty in the developing countries is also manifested in energy. Using his home country as a case study, he said that despite the abundant natural resources in Nigeria, access to energy is very low; with attention only on hydro sources for electricity generation and other renewable energy sources attracting very little attention. He examined thoroughly, households’ access to energy, energy poverty, spatial disparity in energy poverty and established relationships between energy poverty and factors of energy access. Finally, Yusto M. Yustas, from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania schooled the conference participants on “Characterisation of Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Demand in Semi-Arid Rural Areas”. He pointed out that the semi-arid rural areas in Tanzania predominantly lack access to clean, reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy for cooking, lighting and electrification; with also scarcity in fertile lands. Thus, practices that lead to environmental degradation such as rapid deforestation due to agricultural land expansions, charcoal making and firewood collection in these areas are very common. He explained that biogas plants of continuous low solid anaerobic digestion design were introduced in the area to address the unsustainable energy supply but because of the climate in the region most of the installed plants turned unsustainable and unreliable, hence the need for more reliable renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind in the area.   @Editorial_team  
    756 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • Session 4 The first presenter for this session, Dr. Bertrand Tchanche from the International Institute for Science and Sustainable Development (IISSD), Amiens, France; presented on the “Interdisciplinary Approach to Accelerate Energy Access across Africa”. He holistically explained the disparities in energy resources at national and regional levels in Africa and the energy situation characterized by: a mismatch between the supply deficit and the surplus of untapped potential of renewable energies (wind, hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal); the polluting effects of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) on the environment and the impact on global warming; and the fact that energy was not taken into account as a fundamental and essential factor for sustainable development in political economy. He suggested an interdisciplinary methodology to put in conjunction with engineering and social sciences. This will help overcome barriers to energy access and contribute to sustainable development of communities through appropriate methods that facilitate the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy technologies. His method being also organizational seeks to foster collaboration between different actors and institutions (governments, organizations, communities) in order to implement a regulatory, legal and administrative framework that encourages investors and make reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies. Thereafter came the second presenter, Jerome Ndam Mungwe, from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. The presentation titled was “Sustainable Energization of Rural Areas of Developing Countries. A comprehensive planning approach” highlighted that Access to modern energy and energy related services in developing countries is a double-faced challenge with 1.3 billion people unable to access electricity and 2.6 billion relying on traditional biomass for cooking. According to him, solutions to this challenge can neither be through the isolated promotion of individual technologies nor fuel switching, but rather through a systemic approach to a more comprehensive energy access strategy, with the supply of alternative energy carriers and planning of complete energy solutions via a more comprehensive and sustainable rural energy planning. He further explained that the current approaches to Sustainable Energization do not account for the current energy balance and have not been applied in the context of rural areas. In conclusion, he proposed a comprehensive seven step rural energy planning methodology for the sustainable energization of rural areas in developing countries, which takes into account the current energy balance and integrate energy drivers in the energy services supply network. The application of this approach in a rural context shows a great improvement in the quantity, quality, and variety of accessible and affordable energy services for a more sustainable development of rural areas. The presenter that followed was, Prof Yekeen A. Sanusi, from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, in a presentation titled “Energy Poverty and its Spatial Differences in Nigeria: Reversing the Trend” who clearly pointed out that the high level of poverty in the developing countries is also manifested in energy. Using his home country as a case study, he said that despite the abundant natural resources in Nigeria, access to energy is very low; with attention only on hydro sources for electricity generation and other renewable energy sources attracting very little attention. He examined thoroughly, households’ access to energy, energy poverty, spatial disparity in energy poverty and established relationships between energy poverty and factors of energy access. Finally, Yusto M. Yustas, from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania schooled the conference participants on “Characterisation of Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Demand in Semi-Arid Rural Areas”. He pointed out that the semi-arid rural areas in Tanzania predominantly lack access to clean, reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy for cooking, lighting and electrification; with also scarcity in fertile lands. Thus, practices that lead to environmental degradation such as rapid deforestation due to agricultural land expansions, charcoal making and firewood collection in these areas are very common. He explained that biogas plants of continuous low solid anaerobic digestion design were introduced in the area to address the unsustainable energy supply but because of the climate in the region most of the installed plants turned unsustainable and unreliable, hence the need for more reliable renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind in the area.   @Editorial_team  
    May 02, 2016 756