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Wits Business School’s AELC Signs MOU with the African Energy Chamber

L:  Professor Jason Cohen, Acting Dean: Faculty of Commerce, Law & Management with R: Mr Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President: African Energy Chamber.

Wits Business School’s African Energy Leadership Centre (AELC) has signed a three-year agreement with the African Energy Chamber (AEC) with the aim of advancing the growth and development of the energy sector in Africa, as well as championing access to power for all Africans in a bid to make energy poverty a thing of the past by 2030.

The agreement will, among others, see the start of an internship/fellowship programme for students of Wits Business School who wish to advance their careers in the energy sector.  The two parties will also collaborate on energy research projects as well as on conferencing and speaking engagements.

“We are immensely excited to have this opportunity to work alongside the AEC. This is a true meeting of minds because we share a vision which is to build industry knowledge, capacity and skills in African energy in order for the industry to reach its full potential,” said Professor Lwazi Ngubevana, Director of the AELC.

The AELC was founded in 2017 and is the first centre of its kind in Africa to offer postgraduate programmes specialising in Energy Leadership. It has also established itself as a hub of new research and a platform for solutions-oriented discussion among various stakeholders in the sector.

The AEC is a non-profit organisation that advocates for an end to energy poverty in Africa by 2030 through increased investment into energy across the entire continent and the entire energy value chain. In order to achieve this, the AEC works with organisations, local companies, governments, and global players to fostering the growth of the African energy sector that will thrive in free markets and provide job opportunities for communities.  Its focus is on investment outreach, industry knowledge, training and capacity building, and networking.

Senior Vice President of the AEC, Mr Verner Ayukegba, said: “As the voice of energy in Africa, the Chamber collaborates with key industry stakeholders across the continent in order to drive the industry forward. Critical to our mandate is to build capacity across Africa’s oil and gas and energy sectors through training, research and knowledge-sharing.  Our partnership agreement with Wits, one of Africa’s most prestigious universities, will go a long way to ensuring the optimal growth of the industry through much-needed research and skills development.”

He further noted that over 600 million Africans have no access to power and 900 million have no access to clean cooking fuels, most of whom are women and children. “It is imperative that we focus on increasing access to power in Africa to ensure that many more citizens of this continent are able to benefit from improved health care delivery, improved employment opportunities, adequate nutrition and much more, all of which are dependent on power being available in reliable and affordable quantities.”

For Professor Maurice Radebe, Head and Director of WBS and former energy executive, the partnership between the AELC and AEC couldn’t have come at a better time.

“The future of our continent rests, to a large extent, on how we manage the energy sector. We are on a strong growth trajectory in Africa, but this growth has to be carefully managed. Joining forces with the African Energy Chamber in developing leadership skills and collaborating on research is a significant step towards solving our energy crisis and ultimately eliminating the scourge of energy poverty in Africa.”