April 2022: Energizing Investment in the Solar and Renewable Sector
Date: April 27, 2022 8:00am-9:15am PST

Context

Solar and renewable energies are rising as a commercially viable resource across Africa, being cheaper than coal, diesel, or gas. Recognizing that fossil fuel energies tend to be historically concentrated across the developed world, there is a huge opportunity to leapfrog energy infrastructure in Africa through decentralized solar grids that accommodate and optimize for renewables. Despite its potential and cost-effectiveness, the challenge lies in drawing in commercial investment. Governments currently lack the investment template and assurances to attract private equity investment. There is an opportunity to develop crucial infrastructure in Africa without incurring foreign debt.
What are the challenges in introducing renewable energy in Africa? What new technologies can be adaptable to local situations that are different from traditional energy grids? How will renewable energy maximize profits and how can we produce more? How will we spur growth in US investment in the African renewable energy sector? How can we tap into resources and investment from the African diaspora? This session explores models of effective renewable energy output across Africa and opportunities for future expansion of investment in solar and renewable energies

Moderator

Thomas Debass, Chief Partnerships Officer and Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnerships at U.S. Department of State

Panelist 1

Abbie Laugtug, Private Sector Team Lead, Power Africa

Panelist 2

Frederick Mallya, CEO, Safi Power Renewable Energy Company

Panelist 3

Evans Wadongo, Partner, Wadson Ventures, Co-founder, GreenWize Energy, Founder, Sustainable Development For All

Bios

Thomas Debass (Moderator)

Chief Partnerships Officer and Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnerships at U.S. Department of State

Thomas Debass currently serves as Chief Partnerships Officer and Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnerships at U.S. Department of State, providing thought leadership on partnerships related to economic growth, global finance, environment, and sustainability governance, impact investing, and innovation. He has served under five secretaries of State with various partnership and program accomplishments. Thomas is also an adjunct faculty at George Washington University School of Business teaching strategic foresight, resilience, and strategy. Prior to joining the State Department, he was the Lead Economist with the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Senior Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Abbie Laugtug

Private Sector Team Lead, Power Africa

Abbie Laugtug is a Private Sector Team Lead with Power Africa. She supports the Private Sector Engagement team and US companies to engage with specific power generation transactions and market opportunities. Ms. Laugtug provides tailored support and connects US businesses with access to the Power Africa network (12 U.S. Government Agencies, 19 Development Partners, 170+ Private Sector Partners and 70+ on-the-ground technical advisors) to discuss market trends and specific projects, or potentially receive assistance. Abbie brings 19 years of experience developing and executing forward thinking engagement strategies that have increased visibility and created policy change in the private sector, nonprofit and government arenas.

Frederick Mallya

CEO, Safi Power Renewable Energy Company

Frederick Mallya is CEO of Safi Power Renewable Energy Company based in Tanzania and Kenya. (“Safi” is clean in Kiswahili). Safi Power is championing the introduction of renewable energy, mainly solar in industrial use. A former Senior Policy Advisor at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for 25 years, also based in Africa, Asia and Europe. Previously he was Environment Consultant with the World Bank in Washington DC where he developed environmental policies for Africa and Asian countries. Mr. Mallya was a Tanzania diplomat and served in numerous countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and at the United Nations in New York.

Evans Wadongo

Partner, Wadson Ventures, Co-founder, GreenWize Energy, Founder, Sustainable Development For All

Evans Wadongo is a Partner at Wadson Ventures, an early stage venture builder working with promising African start-ups. He is a Co-founder at GreenWize Energy, which is advancing cutting-edge African-designed renewable energy solutions in Sub Saharan Africa. He is also the founder of Sustainable Development For All, an organization that has helped lift thousands of mostly rural people out of poverty. At 19, he designed the first-ever African designed solar lamp, dubbed MwangaBora¬ģ made from recycled materials. Evans has received several global recognitions including Aspen New Voices Fellowship, Swedish Institute Management Program, CNN Hero, Outstanding Social Entrepreneur in Africa, and Pan Commonwealth Youth Award for excellence in Development.

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