Fuel Freedom Foundation proudly launched EmPOWERing Africa, a project designed to help reduce energy poverty on the continent, at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York on Monday.
The project will be implemented in partnership with IESE, the internationally renowned graduate business school at the University of Navarra in Spain.
“We are facing an extreme energy shortage globally,” Fuel Freedom Co-Founder and Chairman Yossie Hollander said. “Access to affordable fuels would create significant and positive change in developing nations, and is achievable by fuel diversification — which is why Fuel Freedom and IESE Business School are partnering to create an energy education and knowledge transfer program to address this issue.”
Hollander joined former President Clinton’s daughter Chelsea onstage as CGI recognized EmPOWERing Africa as one of its Commitments to Action for 2015. The Commitments “represent bold new ways that CGI members address global challenges — implemented through new methods of partnership and designed to maximize impact,” the group led by the nation’s 42nd president said.
The program will focus on these four critical areas of energy consumption:
Transportation. Oil-based fuel costs are embedded in every product and service, and these costs are significantly higher in Africa and other emerging economies than they are in the developed world. Africans could convert their existing gas-powered cars to run on locally produced alternative fuels like ethanol, methanol or butanol, which burn 33 percent cleaner than gasoline.
Cooking Fuels. About 3 billion people in the world cook and heat their homes using open fires and stoves that use wood or biomass. These dirty fuels increase pollution, as well as the rates of premature illness and death. Domestically made ethanol or butanol can be used in cook stoves instead, reducing levels of soot and other pollutants.
Fertilizer Production. Lack of affordable fertilizers is the main reason for low agricultural yields, and the primary driver of food insecurity. Alternatives can be developed at local fertilizer facilities using residual natural gas, and by expanding production of biochar as a soil nutrient.
Electricity. Most rural electricity in Africa comes from small generators that burn diesel or gasoline. Diesel generators can be converted to run on cheaper, cleaner and locally produced methanol and other fuels, improving air quality and increasing efficiency.
“Access to consistent, affordable clean energy could positively impact every human life,” Chelsea Clinton said. “I don’t think any of us could imagine our lives without access to power and electricity. I certainly wouldn’t be standing under this spotlight here today. And yet more than a billion people don’t have access to affordable energy. In some countries, it’s well north of three quarters of people that don’t have access to affordable energy. And yet we also know that 4.3 million people die each year because of air pollution caused by an over-reliance on wood and other biomass for cooking and heating.
“And the most vulnerable are children. Respiratory diseases including pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children under 5 in many parts of the world. And so we know that access to clean energy isn’t only about economic opportunity but it’s also about health and well-being.”
The project will begin at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya, an affiliate school of IESE’s, to collect case data and recruit students. The curriculum will be taught at IESE in Barcelona, and will bring together business leaders, policymakers and other influencers who can apply our methodology to develop and implement energy solutions in their own country. Check out IESE’s brochure on the program.
But the effort needn’t end there. We’re hoping to expand the educational program to other developing nations, and eventually around the rest of the world.