>@Richard Willis/EIB

A cold storage to prevent post-harvest losses, a start-up for the design and production of the light electric tricycles and a 100% solar-powered  food vending cart: these are the three innovative ideas that, today, won the Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year 2021 Award the initiative jointly promoted by RES4Africa Foundation, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank. The winners were announced during the event African youth-led Summit: Climate Change and Renewable Energy, organised in the framework of the PreCOP26.

At its second edition, the Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year Award is an initiative aimed at rewarding young African talents who seek to address the major environmental and social challenges that hamper the full development of African countries. Developed in the framework of the capacity building programme Micro-Grid Academy, led by RES4Africa Foundation, this edition was promoted and financed by Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank: with this award, the three organisations encourage young energy entrepreneurs from Africa to develop projects that expand enegy access, enable greater use of renewable sources and accelerate the energy transition of the continent.

Selected among 50 applicants from Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, the three young winners are Adekoyejo Ifeoluwapo Kuye, 26 years old from Nigeria; Alex Makalliwa, 31 years old from Kenya; Benson Kibiti, 24 years old from Kenya. The three projects have been awarded with a price of 5000 euros each to support their development.

Adekoyejo Ifeoluwapo Kuye’s project aims at providing sub-Saharan Africa farmers with reliable and sustainable cold storage to eliminate post-harvest losses in the fruit and vegetable supply chains: the youth driven organisation Manamuz Electric LTD, based in Enugu, is working to build a distributed cold chain logistics infrastructure powered by solar energy and create a digital platform to shorten the supply chain that can easily be accessed in the Global High Value Markets.

With a Nairobi-based start-up, Alex Makaliwa envisions to use access to affordable sustainable mobility and electricity as a catalyst for economic growth in rural off-grid communities. His winning project aims at strengthening the design and production of the light electric tricycles (Try.kes), equipped of PV module, on Board Data Management System. Having a battery capacity of 1.6kWh, it can carry 250Kg payload and reach 50-60Km range at maximum speed of 25Kmph in a single charge.

The third project was designed by Benson Kibiti. The absence of access to clean sources of cooking and lighting, Nairobi’s 100,000+ street food vendors rely predominantly on charcoal, leading to significant damage to health and the environment. The winner, with the African start-up Zuhura Solutions, built and tested a new 100% solar-powered food vending cart, the Halisi Trolley, which aimed at revolutionizing the street food sector in Kenya by providing reliable, clean, and sustainable energy. The stored energy is converted into heat energy, autonomously heating the food and maintaining the temperature while generating surplus energy to charge phones and power LED lights.

Through the Micro-Grid Academy, the RES4Africa Foundation aims to play its part in the achievement of access to energy by ensuring quality training opportunities to Africa’s young generations. The Award was launched in order for particularly forward-thinking participants to scale up their projects and activities : sharing a common vision, RES4Africa, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank put together their efforts to support those young people from all African countries who are committed and motivated to create a real change in their communities.

RES4Africa Foundation (Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa) is a Foundation that operates in support of Africa’s just energy transition. Its mission is to work towards creating favourable conditions for scaling up investments in clean energy technologies in the continent. Functioning as a bridge between Europe and Africa, RES4Africa envisions the sustainable transformation of the continent's electricity systems to provide reliable and affordable electricity access, enabling job creation and socio-economic progress of all African businesses and societies.