As part of International Youth Day, we reached out to Dr. Mohamed Alhaj, the founder and director of Clean Energy 4 Africa (CE4A) for his insights on the role of Africa’s youth in energy access and transition. CE4A is a youth-led think-tank that promotes renewable energy in Africa. It is considered one of the top 100 youth initiatives globally that support SDG7.
What is the role of Africa’s youth in energy access and transition?
Africa has the youngest population in the world, with 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30! With this in mind, we need to reframe the role of youth in the energy transition agenda. Youth don’t just play a role in Africa’s sustainable energy transition; they are the real agents of change! The energy, passion and perspective that the youth bring in the energy transition dialogue should be seen as the main input in any policy-making process.
What support is needed to encourage youth participation in energy access and transition?
The youth need to be empowered through advanced education and specialized training programs. They also need to be given the opportunity to voice their concerns and actively participate in public policy-making. Moreover, there is a need to strengthen partnerships and synergies between youth and the private sector in the energy access and transition agenda.
What do you love about working in this sector?
I love the fact that Clean Energy 4 Africa allows me to connect with youth from all over the world and discuss how to accelerate the sustainable energy transition. I also enjoy training and mentoring younger researchers and students, especially through the training programs that Clean Energy 4 Africa offers. Moreover, I am really excited about the opportunities that Clean Energy 4 Africa has opened for me to raise awareness about renewable energy in my home country Sudan.
About Mohamed Alhaj
Dr. Mohamed Alhaj is the founder and director of Clean Energy 4 Africa. Mohamed is a renewable energy consultant and an expert researcher. He completed his Ph.D., at 28 years old, at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (Qatar) where he worked on developing a sustainable solar-driven seawater desalination technology. His Ph.D. research, which received several prestigious awards and resulted in several peer-reviewed papers and conference talks, investigated the technical performance, environmental impact, and economic feasibility of solar-driven low-pressure thermal desalination, particularly for water-scarce countries. Dr. Mohamed has published several reports and articles and delivered numerous webinars on the renewable energy market in Sudan. He also led the development of the Guide to Solar Energy in Sudan and a study on the status of training in the solar sector in Sudan. He is currently a Technical Team Leader in the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund Sudan SME Catalytic Fund Project. Dr. Mohamed is also the Chairman of the RES4Africa Foundation Youth Task Force.