Some may not realize, but Africa is encountering a significant energy crisis. The continent’s economic growth and fast growing population have increased the demand for energy, calling for a rapid increase in energy supply. However, the governments are severely struggling with what policies and strategies to adopt in the transition to renewable energy.
Despite the huge potential of the continent, the development of renewable energy in Africa faces a series of legal, technical, and financial barriers. Therefore, most of its renewable energy sources remain under-exploited. For instance, only 7% of the continent’s enormous hydro potential has been utilized at this point in time. Yet, renewable energy technologies (RET) hold significant potential for the continent’s energy transition. The development of RET can reduce the costs incurred by most countries in importing and exploiting oil for electricity generation. Also, renewable energy is a more efficient option of meeting energy demands in rural areas.Thus, the need for ideas and thought leaders is important now more than ever. One such individual is Astria Fataki, with a vision to transform the energy challenges Africa is currently facing. Let’s find out more about Fataki and her vision.
Meet Astria Fataki
Astria Fataki is a social entrepreneur with a passion for reviving Africa through renewable energy. She is a project development consultant and the founder of Energy Generation, a social enterprise that trains youths in entrepreneurship, energy, and technology development in order to promote “made in Africa” solutions. As governments and multilateral organisations are still working on finding structural solutions, Fataki is imparting positive change in her unique way.
Fataki is a thought leader determined to create a path for African women involvement in the renewable energy industry. Through her remarkable engagement she has procured numerous awards, such as the Women Entrepreneur Award, Energy category Women In Africa (WIA) summit – Marrakech, Morocco September 2017. Fataki also got the Renewable Energies Woman of the Year award (Startup category), the GreenUnivers, Maison de l’UNESCO award in Paris that was held in February 2019, plus many more.
We had the opportunity to interview Fataki to get an idea of what it will take to revive Africa through renewable energy. Read on to gain access to her keen insights.
Having worked in this sector for almost ten years, Fataki is passionate about energy development. Very early on, she realized how much access to energy could help improve economically disadvantaged people. As she started implementing rural electrification programs in West and Central Africa, she had to overcome serious challenges in terms of funding, logistics and maintenance. This was how she realized that the continent’s electrification process was relying way too much on external technical, financial and human resources when local resources were underestimated. Especially one of Africa’s most valuable resources, its youth, was not involved enough in the development of RET. In 2016, this multi-skilled entrepreneur decided to fund the pan-African organization Energy Generation in order to change that.
With the ambition to “generate the entrepreneurs Africa needs the most” Energy Generation currently offers innovative venture development programs in the fields of energy, health & wellness, and agribusiness in Africa, “I believe African youth have a key role to play in the continent development, especially in the field of energy. We are offering the best support possible to youth so that they can transform their creative ideas into successful businesses with a high social impact,” remarked Fataki.
Fataki is convinced that one way to accelerate renewable energy in Africa is through education. Energy Generation has trained hundreds of youths in entrepreneurship, technology, and energy through short and long term trainings. Although the organization is located in Togo and Ghana, young people from at least 17 different countries across Africa have benefitted from the program. The training contributes to creating the human capital needed for the development of RET on the continent.
If it was hard at first to convince potential partners about her vision of empowering the youth to power Africa, Fataki demonstrated that when trained properly, local entrepreneurs can bring meaningful ideas to life and create a significant value in their countries by proposing concrete and frugal solutions to complex challenges. Today, Energy Generation partners with world leading corporations in the energy sector, including ENGIE, Schneider Electric and EDF.
In order to identify Africa’s best talents and emerging leaders in its fields of expertise, Energy Generation organizes the pan-African contest Africa Energy Generation Prize. The 4th edition of the contest is currently running. Over the past four years, six winners have been awarded. Most of these winners are now developing their own start-ups.
One of the previous winners from Zambia, named Victor Masumba mentioned, “Taking the training offered by Energy Generation allowed me to structure and boost my project. It was a very rich human experience. I had the honour of working with international experts and meeting young entrepreneurs from all over the continent. I was able to develop an MVP and I acquired essential skills to develop my startup, Farm Connect. Today, it is operational and the Energy Generation team is still by my side, working closely with me on marketing my products and acquiring my first clients.”
This type of testimony speaks of itself and means a lot to Fataki, as this visionary and compassionate leader intends to influence the future of Africa for the better one life at the time.
In closing, Fataki declared, “Our work goes way beyond just education to entrepreneurship and access to energy. It’s also about giving to these young people a purpose and hope in a world that is constantly telling them that they are cursed somehow, making them believe that they are not capable of solving Africa’s problems on their own. We are here to remind them that they are enough and that their contribution to the world matters.” Feel free to reach out to Astria Fataki today if you’d like to offer any services or support, or to learn more about her vision for transforming Africa.