Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Bujumbura Gets Green Energy Lights

Downtown Bujumbura just got a little brighter, thanks to an innovative partnership between Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa and Gigawatt Global, a founding member of United States Power Africa's Beyond the Grid program.

This week solar-powered ‘light islands’ began appearing in the heavily-trafficked central bus station and nearby marketplace, extending commercial hours and personal safety. 

“The city of Bujumbura is very pleased to be working with Gigawatt Global on this important solar street lighting project,” said Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa.

“This project will enhance security as well as provide opportunities for economic development to the citizens of Bujumbura. It is the hope and wish of all involved that this project can spread throughout the city, as well as expand to other cities in Burundi within the near future.”

Gigawatt Global is now in discussions to scale the solar-powered ‘light islands’ program throughout the city and in other major Burundian towns.

“We are grateful and pleased to work with the city of Bujumbura, and the Honorable Mayor Freddy MBONIMPA to realise this important first step of the solar street lighting project,” said Michael Fichtenberg, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Burundi.

“We intend to expand throughout the capital and to other locations as part of our larger program of green electrification in Burundi, with 40 'light islands' planned in the first phase of the program,” Fichtenberg continued.

“Every country in which we develop commercial scale solar fields will receive additional benefits like these ‘light islands’ and rural electrification with mini-grids.”

Gigawatt Global, which provides 100% financing for its projects, pioneered commercial scale solar power plants in sub-Sahara Africa, launching the first one in Rwanda in 2014, which is currently supplying 6% of the country's generation capacity.

Gigawatt Global will complete a 7.5 Mw solar field in the Gitega region of Burundi in the next six months, which will supply 15% of the East African country's generation capacity. Similar projects are currently being developed in 10 African countries, including Liberia and South Sudan, among many others. 

“Over 95% of Burundi's 11 million people lack access to electricity. Gigawatt Global is honoured to play a role in advancing economic and social development through green power in the country,” says Josef Abramowitz, CEO of Gigawatt Global.

 “By expanding our investments from commercial scale projects to include off-grid installations, we are positively impacting the lives of millions of people in Burundi and throughout Africa, and are becoming a leading force in green energy projects across the continent.”

The ‘light islands’ project in Bujumbura is produced by a team that includes local members Patrick NZINTUNGA, Gigawatt Global Regional Coordinator, and Deo HUGERE, Gigawatt Global Engineer.

The engineering, procurement, and construction components of this project are being carried out by Asantys System. The pilot program is supported by the Energy & Environmental Partnership (EEP), an initiative of the governments of the United Kingdom, Austria and Finland, and with an impact investment from entrepreneur Alex Goldberg.

“God bless the people of Burundi,” says Goldberg. “In Bujumbura, we found a place ripe for innovation and open to economic development.”

As part of Gigawatt Global's commitment to additional Corporate Social Responsibility, one of its investors, Mark Gelfand, funded and built the STEM Centre (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at the Université Polytechnique de Gitega.

Ugandan Among Top Three Innovation Prize For Africa Cash Prize Winners

The sixth edition of the coveted Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) culminated with a bang as the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) awarded three more African innovators for their incredible innovations.

Out of the total of over 2500 applications, 10 nominees were selected, and from these Aly El-Shafei of Egypt emerged as the Grand Prize winner, with Philippa Ngaju Makobore of Uganda landing the Second Prize, and Dougbeh-Chris Nyan of Liberia winning the Special Prize for Social Impact.

Each one of the seven remaining nominees also went home with US$ 5 000 voucher to be used to further develop their innovations. Moreover, all nominees and winners will benefit from IPA post prize activities aiming at moving their innovations to the next level.

The main obstacle in increasing electricity generation capacity in Africa continues to be the high cost of producing electricity, which is forcing governments to subsidize consumption.

Dr. El-Shafei’s innovation, Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing (SEMAJIB), is a world-class solution that supports energy generating turbines and can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs of generating energy in Africa.

Meanwhile, inadequate medical solutions to efficiently administer drugs or to diagnose diseases continue to affect the quality of healthcare delivery in many parts of the continent.

Makobore’s invention, known as Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF) and Dr. Nyan’s multiple disease rapid detection test, both offer ingenious solutions aimed at raising the quality of healthcare provision in Africa.

AIF collaborated with the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and Ghana@60 Planning Committee to host IPA 2017, which was themed ‘African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity’.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, presided over the prestigious awards ceremony, held at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra in Ghana.

AIF Founder, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, Founder, African Innovation Foundation, explained that the 2017 edition of IPA has been all about galvanizing support for African innovators in order to mobilize increased investments to help them commercialize and scale their innovations at a greater rate.

“AIF has rewarded IPA 2017 for developing solutions that can truly add value to the lives of Africans, and I believe that these innovations have incredible commercial potential and will succeed in attracting the right investments to go to the next stage.”

IPA 2017 Chairman of the Jury, Prof Nyasse Barthelemy said that the deliberation was tough as the quality of innovations were high. “Each of the innovations, in their own respective ways, were winners as they represented local solutions to local challenges.

“It came down to the wire but we believe we have awarded the most compelling innovations this year. We look forward to seeing what comes next for the incredible innovations from IPA2017 innovators and wish them the very best”.

The patented innovation, SEMAJIB), by Dr. El-Shafei who walked away with the Grand Prize of US$ 100, 000, is a smart bearing that significantly improves turbine performance in single line combined cycle plants as well as conventional generator technology.

Patented in the US since 2010 with another patent pending, the device is designed to be used to support energy generating turbines more efficiently and cost effectively in Africa.

SEMAJIB is an innovation that does not currently exist in the West, and already Siemens' has indicated interest in the device. A world class innovation originating from Africa, SEMAJIB reverse Africa's image as a technology consumer to technology producer. Production of these bearings in Africa will also generate jobs and increased revenue for Africa.

Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECFG) by Philippa, who bagged the Second Prize of US$ 25, 000, is designed to accurately administer intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluid flow based on feedback from a drop sensor.

It is easy to operate and has key safety features, which include alarms for rate of infusion (rapid or slow), total volume (over or under) and faulty sensors. A battery utilizing a hybrid (AC mains and solar) charging bed powers the device. IV infusions are critical for both adults and children in various situations. Over 10% of children admitted to East African hospitals need immediate infusion therapy.

Findings from the FEAST trial indicates that over-infusion in children increased the absolute risk of death by 3.3 % at 48 hours. Erroneous delivery rates can result into serious adverse effects. The ECGF has the potential to save lives by providing accuracy and safety at 8% the cost of a brand new infusion pump.

Dr. Dougbeh, who was awarded the Special Prize for Social Impact of US$25 000, developed a rapid test that can detect and simultaneously differentiate at least three to seven infections at the same time.

His diagnostic test is fast and easy to use in any setting and is able to detect and distinguish multiple infections which bear the same symptoms for instance, when a patient has yellow fever, malaria, and Ebola.

Whereas most testing methods take three to seven days, this device gives test results in ten to forty minutes. Dougbeh is currently working on the second prototype of his innovation after obtaining positive results from his first prototype.

The results have been validated with human clinical samples, peer-reviewed and published in several respected scientific journals such as ‘Nature-Scientific Reports’. His innovation has the potential of being a game changer in the continent in the detection and management of infectious diseases for quality patient-care.

The 2017 awards welcomed hundreds of entries from outstanding innovators. For the first time, IPA nominees include innovators from Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Zimbabwe, and featured a stronger presence of women that in any of the years past. The exceptional quality of entrants, finalists and winners delighted this year’s judges and made for a thrilling awards celebration night.

Guest Speakers For Upcoming Africa Oil Week Announced

ITE, the organizers of Africa Oil Week, this week announced its top-level speakers and sponsors for the 2017 edition of the globally recognised Africa Oil Week, the world’s longest running oil and gas conference on the African continent, being held in Cape Town, South Africa, from the 23rd-27th October.

As Africa’s premier oil industry event, Africa Oil Week draws over 1,250 senior stakeholders from the global upstream ecosystem for five days of content, thought leadership, networking and deal making.

This high-level participation is due, in particular, to the superlative quality of speakers, sponsors and partners, all of whom optimise the benefits of the content-rich programme.

Now in its 24th year, Africa Oil Week features 160 speakers from the corporate and public sphere to share winning strategies and solutions being deployed to face the future of the upstream industry with confidence.

Amongst these top-level speakers feature representatives from government and state bodies:

H.E. Jean-Marc Thystere-Tchicaya – Minister of Hydrocarbons for the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville;

H.E. Thierry Tanoh – Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Development of Renewable Energies in Côte d’Ivoire;

H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima – Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy in Republic of Equatorial Guinea;

Jerreh Barrow – Commissioner of Petroleum, Ministry of Petroleum & Energy for Government of The Gambia;

Engr Simbi Kesiye Wabote – Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Nigeria.

They will shed light on new opportunities as frontier and emerging markets and elaborate on the increased attractiveness achieved through strengthened fiscal and regulatory stability.

Côte d’Ivoire plans to double its oil and gas output by 2020 and is seeking to develop offshore reserves in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, while the Republic of Congo aims to increase daily production to 300,000 barrels from the current 250,000 barrels over the next two years.

This will put it close on the heels of Equatorial Guinea, the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa with oil reserves estimated at more than 1.1 billion barrels of crude.

The Gambia, whose eight blocks, six offshore and two onshore, of which most are unallocated, have generated a lot of interest since its change of government, will present its legal framework that gives it the right to award contracts via tender and direct talks.

Nigeria’s Simbi Wabote will clarify his organisation’s capacity-building objectives and how IOCs can leverage the Nigerian Content experiences of others when planning projects.

Delegates will glean invaluable industry insights and operating experience from leaders of top international operators on the continent, such as:

France’s Guy Maurice – Senior VP, E&P Africa, Total E&P;

Luca Bertelli – Chief Exploration Officer, Eni Spa, Italy;

Jasper Peijs – Vice President Exploration, Africa, BP plc;

Frank Pluta – Managing Director, Global Co-Head of Oil and Gas Corporate Finance, Standard Chartered Bank;

Mike Adams – Head of Exploration, Gene Energy.

Each brings his or her expertise and perspective to the subjects of frontier exploration; challenges, opportunities and risks; deepwater exploration; the future of upstream; E&P trends; gas resources and gas-to-power development; and technology in the industry, amongst many more. Africa Oil Week provides a forum for exploring them all.

Iran Investors Target Uganda's Oil, Minerals

The Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation has expressed serious interest in investing in various projects in Uganda including the petroleum and mining sectors, a statement released by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum stated.

A three man delegation led by Manoochehr Khajel-Daloul, the Foundations deputy for construction recently paid a courtesy call to the Chamber. A number of investment opportunities in the extractives sectors were shared by Elly Karuhanga, the chairman of the Chamber.

"With Uganda targeting first oil in 2020, opportunities in the oil and gas sector are immense. Apart from the two critical projects, the refinery and pipeline, more support infrastructure like roads, railways and energy projects are in the offing," he said.

He added that other opportunities are in the logistics, foods and beverages, finance, security, human resource, waste management and crane services.

"At least up to $20bn is expected to be invested in Uganda to help the oil industry to take off smoothly.

Mostazafan Foundation is the second largest enterprise in Iran, second only to the National Oil Company. The Foundation is composed of eleven holdings controlling 150 companies which are spread across different sectors globally.

Karuhanga invited the Mostazafan Foundation to consider UCMP as a viable partner that would introduce them to sustainable and geniune openings in the oil and gas and mining sectors.

The Iranian delegation according to the statement was interested in knowing government's investment vision in the oil and mining sectors, the kind of incentives ono offer, licensing durations, revenue sharing options, among other issues.

Subscribe to this RSS feed

26°C

Kampala

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 74%

Wind: 22.53 km/h

  • 24 Mar 2016 28°C 22°C
  • 25 Mar 2016 28°C 21°C