WINDHOEK, (Xinhua) --
Entrepreneurs in the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) region are betting on innovative renewable
energy approaches to address energy gaps the region faces and to
boost business proceeds.
More than 50 percent
of the population in the SADC region remain without access to
electricity and efficient energy sources.
Paulus Mulunga from
Namibia left his regular job at a local university and used his
savings to start Solar Lights Systems venture some years back.
Tapping on the hot Namibian sun and modern technology solutions,
the entrepreneur provides solar power to rural and urban areas
off-grid the national electricity system.
mainly rural in SADC, are the least developed with electricity
access, recorded at as low as 7 percent in some countries, said
Kuda Ndhlukula, executive director of the SADC Centre for
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) launched in
Namibia’s capital Windhoek this week.
researches renewable innovation approaches and subsequently puts
up systems suitable for dwellers, adapted to the needs and what
people can afford as the installation of power off-grid can be
“It is however
efficient and sustainable. Thus dwellers are guaranteed light
and power,” he said.
“We believe that the
provision of modernized renewable energy solutions to the left
out citizens will catapult the region into sustainable
development, hence our commitment,” said Mulunga, who also
showcased his work at an event organized along the launch of
from South Africa runs Khepri Innovations, an initiative that
focuses on innovative renewable energy and sustainable food
providing energy solutions is driven by the zeal to promote
sustainable livelihoods and environmental protection as well as
technology that enables change, and is clean,” he said.
into renewable energy sustainability has also enabled the
enterprise to reduce the cost of feed to clients by 40 percent.
It is this business
model that has enabled the trade to expand business and run
testing sites for renewable energy innovation in Mozambique and
“People look at the
ground systems and assigns us to do production at farm level on
solar power. As such, we do it sustainably because we run on
renewable energy and innovatively,” he added.
The contribution of
entrepreneurs is crucial for the region, according to John
Titus, a director in Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy,
adding that renewable energy has massive opportunities and gaps
“Innovators in the
energy sector are a great resource to addressing gaps within the
region, and with support, could prosper to address other
economic challenges African youth faces,” he said.
prospects and passion, challenges, however, persist for the
traders. “One of the challenges hindering growth is getting the
right skilled personnel to execute at the competitive market
level, and offer competitive salaries. We had to poach
personnel, which comes as a high cost,” said Mulunga.
For Dlabantu, “the
entrepreneurial journey can be difficult. One needs to do market
research. One needs to keep innovating and re-strategising
continually. Hence, the need for extensive support for
entrepreneurs,” he said.
The creation of new
technology markets can only, however, be successful if are
integrative, create domestic value, bobs and leave nobody
behind, according to Philippe Scholtes, managing director of
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) .
renewable energy entrepreneurs is thus high on the global and
regional agenda(s), hence the call for robust investment for
emerging and established enterprises within the sector,” said
the UN official.
to Scholtes, UNIDO, which is a key stakeholder in SACREEE, runs
various programs to promote innovation in renewable energy and
has thus rewarded 865 start-ups under its green technology
initiative, of which Mulunga and Dlabantu are beneficiaries.
Tibazarwa, program director of the Southern Africa Innovation
Support in Botswana, said that while traders look to innovation
to revolutionize renewable energy and power supply in SADC,
mechanisms are in place to facilitate collaboration amongst
renewable energy enterprise to accelerate efforts to achieve
regional goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Established by SADC
member states in 2015, the launch of SACREEE in Windhoek is
envisaged to drive initiatives and efforts towards sustainable
energy for all citizens.