Under the arrangement, University lecturers and students will be financially supported to participate in high level exchange programs in European Union countries in order to produce Africa\'s new generation of quality renewable energy engineers and technicians.
Millions of African youths stand to benefit from a new scholarship scheme introduced as part of a project to promote renewable energy in Africa by the European Union.
Under the arrangement, University lecturers and students will be financially supported to participate in high level exchange programs in European Union countries in order to produce Africa's new generation of quality renewable energy engineers and technicians.
Peter Catteleans, the EU Energy Initiative Project Manager for the Africa - EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) He said the trainings will eliminate exorbitant cost incurred in hiring the services of renewable energy experts from the west.
The arrangement was pronounced during an African – EU Energy Partnership Summit in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Besides creating jobs, the result is that the cost of investing in technologies such as geothermal, wind power and solar will subsequently reduce with domestically trained professionals in Africa, Catteleans adds.
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Catteleans says the scholarships are part of a bigger Africa – EU green energy partnership aimed at increasing access to solar power, Wind power, Geothermal and Hydro electricity. In East Africa, Kenya’s strathmore University is already implementing the masters Degree Programme of the scheme among others in Africa.
It is hoped, the scheme will fast track the achievement of targets of the Africa – EU energy partnership that were laid down in 2010 between the European Union and Africa.
The partnership commits Africa and the EU to bring access to modern and sustainable energy services to an additional 100 million Africans by 2020 for quality services such as health, education, water and communication.
Peter Catteleans says the EU will achieve these major targets through supporting the development of relevant skills and technologies in Africa using the expertise in its own countries under a project known as the Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP).
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The other is building the capacity of African countries through the scholarship schemes for vocational trainings and policy formulations to develop compelling proposals for funding of renewable energy projects in Africa.
Beneficiaries of the scholarships from 54 African countries including Uganda will graduate with certificates, Degrees and Masters from different institutes and Universities in Africa and the European Union Countries after undertaking short and long term courses in renewable energy.
Priorities of the scheme rest on African countries already engaged in investments in rural electrification projects, solar powers, and wind powers, geothermal and hydro electric projects.
A World Bank report says access to percentage of Uganda’s population with access to electricity declined from 9 to 8.5, compared to neighboring Kenya’s remarkable increase from 16.1 to 18.1 percent in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
African Delegates gathered at the two days Summit at the African Union Commission Center in Addis Ababa have welcomed the scheme with great enthusiasm.
Elijah Sisoni, a delegate from the Regional Electricity Regulator of Southern Africa says the programme should be fast tracked to support the growing demands for renewable energy in Africa. He cites South Africa that he says had to send its renewable energy engineers to train in Germany due to lack of domestic effective skills and capabilities of the projects.
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Uganda established the Kigumba Petroleum Institute in 2009 to train Petroleum Engineers in view of addressing domestic skill gaps after spending billions of shillings in training specialists abroad. At least US $ 8 million is required from the World Bank and Irish Aid to transform the Institute into an International University.