Rapid and just transitions to clean energy systems across the globe are vital to both curbing impact and building resilience to climate change. Africa’s role in the global energy transition is undeniable, not only because of its significance as a primary supplier of the minerals and resources that drive new technology; not only because it is one of the fastest growing regional markets for energy and cooking fuels, for vehicles, and for industry; but also because projections show that by 2050 one in every four people on the face of the earth will be African, yet nine out of every ten people without access to energy will be African too.
Especially as one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability, and as home to many of the world’s emerging economies, African energy transition pathways will be complex. We need a league of local young scholars, technocrats, and practitioners that are sharp, qualified, attuned, interdisciplinary, and passionate to lead the way.
Over the past two years I have worked closely with Strathmore University to design the first master’s program focused on sustainable energy transitions in East Africa. Designing this curriculum structure was an absolute labor of love, steeped in a firm conviction of the power of education. The opportunity came when we were selected as one of ten universities in sub-Saharan Africa to develop new energy curricula through a FCDO (DFID) Transforming Energy Access grant administered by the University of Cape Town. As the Curriculum Advisor I designed the structure of the program and developed ideal learning outcomes and content for the courses. Each course was then further fleshed out and refined by some of Kenya’s leading experts in their various fields, including energy law and regulation, energy efficiency and audits, power systems, energy analytics, and more. The program went through multiple rounds of rigorous review both internally at Strathmore University, and through Kenya’s Commission for University Education.
The resulting program is practical and applied yet thorough, introducing students to the energy landscape, fundamental principles, critical concepts, and timely challenges. This gives students a firm foundation of key principles from which to innovate for the real world. It prioritizes critical thinking, personal growth, and professional development for students, so that they are well-rounded, confident, and ready for the world. It is founded on deep industry partnerships and cognizant of industry needs. It is designed to be a first fruit, an inspiration for other sister programs across the continent.
The Masters in Sustainable Energy Transitions has successfully been approved by the relevant local bodies, and officially launched on August 6, 2021. It will be operationalized and administered by the School of Computer and Engineering Sciences.
I am excited to see how this program will be implemented, where it will go, and what kinds of graduates it will produce. I will keep the blog updated on this new initiative. Young professionals and recent graduates visiting my website who are interested in learning more about the program can find information here:
Onward to a clean energy future!