July 18 2019

Summer School on "Energy Management and Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa"

The Summer School on "Energy Management and Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa" co-organized by FEEM and Politecnico di Bari will be held on June 24-28 at the Politecnico di Bari, Via Lamberti, Bari, Italy. The target audience is university students, civil society and institutions.

Since the early 2000s, Sub-Saharan Africa has taken important steps towards greater stability and towards achieving the SDGs set out by the 2030 Agenda. The region is undergoing profound economic, political and social transformations. From an economic point of view, some of the African states are going through a phase of rapid and sustained growth, which however coexists with niches of underdevelopment.

The aim of the Summer School is to explain and better understand these transition processes.

Sub-Saharan Africa is in a unique position to take advantage of the digital economy: it is young (the so-called "demographic dividend" contributes to the increase in GDP); better educated than in the past (literacy is almost everywhere at 70 percent); wealthier (the extreme poverty rate has fallen from 56 to 35 percent since 1990); and there is a lower risk of contracting AIDS and malaria (between 2000 and 2012 malaria mortality fell by 50 percent).

A third of the population owns a mobile phone, the electronic money systems (e-mobile systems) are rapidly expanding (see the success of M-Pesa in Kenya), and a network of start-ups inspired by the Silicon Valley is rapidly developing, with 200 existing innovation centers and financing growing at an exponential rate.

To support these new dynamics, the region is experiencing a conspicuous increase in investments in clean energy and could emancipate itself from its energy dependence, which has always been one of the main setbacks for its development. The energy future of Africa depends on renewable sources. Less than 25% of homes in Sub-Saharan Africa now have access to electricity, just 10% in rural areas. Governments are looking at renewable energy, setting increasingly ambitious targets and investing in solar, wind and geothermal technologies.According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the share of renewable energy in Africa will grow from 17% in 2009 to 50% in 2030 on average.

The summer school aims to inform and organize discussions along three fundamental lines:

  • the interpretation of the scenario and the identification of social and economic problems
  • specific analysis of the energy sector
  • identification of factors of change and innovation.

National and international experts will offer participants ideas for critical reflection and work tools, accompanied by workshops led by tutors from the world of business and academia. The final part of the summer school will provide a framework of change methodologies, not entirely focused on technological innovation, but aimed at tools of innovation management and cultural change as key elements of the processes of growth and transformation.

For this purpose the day of June 27 will be particularly useful with the practical application of the "Lego Serious Play" method. With the help of facilitators, students will develop touch as a central methodology of analysis and creative development, addressing the problem of change and digital transformation from a new perspective.

Participation in the Summer School is free of charge.

CVs to be sent no later than Friday, June 14, 2019 to, indicating "Candidature for the Summer School" in the subject of the message.

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