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South Africa, Sahara Group explore collaboration on energy in Davos

Industry experts say meeting current and future energy demand remains a major challenge in all African countries.

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South Africa, Sahara Group explore collaboration on energy in Davos
Enhancing the capacity, accessibility, reliability and safety of energy in its various forms were the key issues that dominated discussions between South Africa and Sahara Group, a leading international energy conglomerate in Davos, Switzerland.

The meeting had South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina and Director, Governance and Sustainability, Pearl Uzokwe in attendance.

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Both parties decried the insufficient harnessing of the continent’s energy sector potential, adding that achieving a robust energy sector remained the most critical component of the levers Africa requires to leapfrog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The South African Energy Minister said a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders on the continent should be adopted and driven by an empowered public private partnership. “The energy potential of Africa is immense and so much is being done to exploit this potential. However, what we need is properly defined machinery that would address the issue from a micro and macro level across the continent through cooperation. South Africa will be willing to partner with Sahara Group and other stakeholders to achieve this.”

Adesina said Sahara Group had since been leading the cooperation conversation and believes that South Africa has a lot to offer the continent as a frontline economy that has continued to demonstrate strategic leadership in the energy sector.

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He explained that with an estimated 130 million African households still dependent on charcoal, kerosene, lantern, candles, fossil fuels, and over half a billion Africans without access to electricity, the continent would need to declare a state of emergency on the energy sector. “Energy is a critical component of driving economic growth and prosperity. Africa needs to have a common energy sector agenda that addresses the peculiarities of the various markets across the entire energy value chain. Sahara Group would be delighted to partner with South Africa to drive this agenda, working alongside all stakeholders.”

Adesina added that huge investment in technology would be required to expand the energy mix to include more modern renewable energy sources.

Also speaking at the parley, Uzokwe said the continent must ensure that any energy agenda adopted must have strong governance and sustainability components for continuity and longevity. “Supportive legislation, environmental consideration, safety and the sustainable development goals must be well articulated in the agenda. Transparency and the creation of a level playing field are also factors to be considered as we would be looking at applicability across markets with different capacities.”

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Industry experts say meeting current and future energy demand remains a major challenge in all African countries with the continent’s population expected to hit 2.3 billion people by 2050.

Patricia

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Companies

Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020

A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs.

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Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020

Microsoft Corp aims to provide free online classes and resources for job-hunting to 25 million people by the end of 2020 as a way to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The classes are going to be held on LinkedIn andGitHub online platforms and are expected to teach 10 highly demanded jobs. 

The training is available to workers across the globe and it is geared towards teaching digital skills. The pandemic, having created a more technology-dependent face of work, and Microsoft is on a quest to aid the development of digital skills ranging from data analysis, digital marketing, and help-desk services.  

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Microsoft, leveraging data from its LinkedIn business, chose 10 job roles as a result of the growing demand for them as well as their potential to provide opportunities for a wide range of people – including those without college degrees.  

READ MORE: Microsoft acquires CyberX to beef cybersecurity 

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s presidentcalled it “the largest skills initiative” explaining that Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the skills required for probably every occupation; hence, workers without digital skills will fall further and further behind.  

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“Everything we envisioned when 2020 began has accelerated more quickly than we imagined. Even when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, equipping individuals with work skills will remain an extremely important priority for companies like us and for the economy as a whole.” 

Skills training in recent years has moved increasingly online, as providers of online classes like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and others have emerged, offering ease and affordability compared to traditional education options.  

READ ALSO: Just In: Opay shuts down other business arms to focus mainly on fintech

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A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs. Just last month, Bank of America noted that job training and career reskilling would be one of its four focus areas for $1 billion in funding for economic-opportunity initiatives over the next four years. In the same month, Walmart Foundation had also donated $6 million to Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying and scaling successful workforce-development programs. 

Microsoft will give users access to LinkedIn content for “learning paths” relating to the 10 jobs until the end of 2020. Its commitment also includes $20 million in grants to organizations that will support individuals using the free resources, as well as $5 million to companies that cater to the needs of communities of color. 

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Andela to expand presence to all African countries

Andela also announced it will accept Pan African applications from engineers with full-stack programming experience.

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Andela to expand presence to all African countries

Global Engineering Talent company, Andela that helps companies build remote engineering teams announced on Wednesday that it now accepts Engineers from all African countries.

Andela says it is a bid “ to double is final talent pool and connect an even greater number of specialist engineers with opportunities”.

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Andela also announced it will accept Pan African applications from engineers with full-stack programming experience such as Node, React, Python and Ruby.

Andela co-founder, Jeremy Johnson says, “Over the past five years, we have become experts at identifying engineering excellence from non-traditional backgrounds. We know that there are extremely talented engineers across Africa and we believe that opportunity should not be limited by proximity to a major tech hub. Being a remote-first engineering organization allows us to open up access to Andela for engineers across the continent.”

He added that the removal of location-based restrictions will help double Andela’s talent pool to roughly 500,000 engineers in Africa, who will leverage on Andela’s work with top international engineering teams.

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READ MORE: 130 farmers to receive seed funding of N100,000 each

Andela’s customers include Cloudflare, Wellio, ViacomCBS and Women Who Code and helps them gain access to high-quality software engineers who work as long-term, embedded team members.

Andela said the announcement will enable companies that it works with to source the talent they need, “by opening up to additional talent pools access the continent.”

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Co-founder Johnson also said the world is realising remote work will be a catalyst for “democratization of opportunity by doubling our talent pool, we are professional to help accelerate their critical work of building the future.”

Absa was launched in 2014 and prior to being a fully remote organization, Andela operated in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. the company says it has fully completed the transition to full remote with a pilot program in Ghana (2018) and Egypt last year.

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Companies

Mr. Price plans to exit Nigeria, closes stores in the country 

The company said it is going to be focusing on South Africa in a more concentrated way.

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Mr. Price plans to exit Nigeria, closes stores in the country 

Mr. Price Group is making plans to close its Nigerian business to focus on its home market business in South Africa. 

The popular affordable clothing, sport, and home wear brand has closed four out of its five Nigerian stores and expects to close the last one in the coming months.  

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This was disclosed by its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Blair. 

READ ALSO: Why Maritime sector slows nation’s GDP

Nigeria is the third country where the company has exitedas it had left Australia and Poland just last year.  The Durban-based company cited challenges like supply-chain disruptions and challenges in getting funds out of the country as reasons it has struggled to operate in Nigeria. 

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Mark Stirton, Chief Financial Officer of Mr. Price explained that, “We are really going to focus on South Africa in a more concentrated way.” 

READ ALSO: Multichoice to integrate Netflix, Amazon contents into decoder

The company is just one out of the few companies that have left Nigeria over the past few years. Companies like Woolworths Holdings Ltd. left the country in 2013. Shoprite Holdings Ltd. had also noted just last year that it may close some stores in the country as well. 

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The company predicts that it might face a few challenges among other retail companies in South Africa particularly owing to the lockdown it is only gradually emerging from. 

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Consequently, Mr. Price had been seeking out ways to conserve cash; it froze head-office salaries and did not declare a final dividend. It also announced plans to sell shares so as to expand its operations through growth, last year. 

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