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Clean energy in Africa is generating jobs and power

More than one in seven of us around the world do not have access to electricity according to the International Energy Agency.

In Africa, one company is looking to change lives by bringing renewable energy to one million homes in Tanzania, creating 15,000 local jobs in the process. 

Off-Grid Electric specializes in developing and distributing solar-powered technologies. According to the company, for each new household they reach 140 kilograms of carbon emissions per year will be avoided.

A key part of the company’s drive to get solar and clean energy technologies to people in Tanzania is M-Power, which it describes as a “distributed solar model.” A crucial part of the M-Power idea is the M-Power Academy.

“To retain and keep the values of our company, we decided to start an academy where we bring in people, we train them and by the time they go to their company, or to their regions, they are ready to take off and work,” Ritha Tarimo, a recruitment leader at the M-Power Academy, told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy.

The aim is to give students the skills to work, whether they work for Off-Grid or other companies. For Tawfiq Hussein, a graduate from the programme, the benefits to his life have been significant.

“The academy changed my life,” he said.

Hussein went on to add that he had learned skills in installation, server management, how to talk with customers, how to improve his attitude and how to focus on career goals.

“Creating a path that gives exposure… to technology and clean energy solutions is a new thing for the markets that we are working in,” Erica Mackey, COO and co-founder of Off Grid Electric, said.

The work being done by Off Grid forms part of a wider trend of companies using technology to bring clean energy solutions to people living in the developing world, where access to energy is for many people difficult.

Earlier this year, Sustainable Energy spoke to Husk Power Systems, a company looking to empower rural Indians, making the most of the essential ingredient in almost every meal: Rice.

The company takes the husks left over after rice has been milled, and uses a biomass gasifier to turn them into biofuel.

Back in Africa, Mackey’s ambitions are not restricted to helping improve lives in Tanzania. “We are also looking at launching in new markets,” she said.

“We are already piloting in Rwanda and we will be expanding to a few more countries next year so our goal, clearly, is lighting Africa in this decade and we are already on path.”

For more stories from CNBC on Sustainable energy, click here.


CNBC 2016

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