Wits Business School addresses the energy sector’s skills shortage
An MA and a postgraduate diploma in the field of Energy Leadership will be launched in January 2019
The energy landscape in Africa is changing dramatically. Opportunities abound for investments, partnerships and other initiatives in the sector, particularly in oil, gas and renewable energy. The World Bank’s Africa Energy project portfolio now carries 48 projects totalling $3-billion. From Uganda to Kenya to Morocco, new projects are being implemented at a rapid pace.
In addition, Africa is blessed with an abundance of natural resources for energy generation: excellent solar radiation and wind, as well as substantial reserves of natural gas, oil and coal.
Despite all this, however, many Africans are still experiencing severe energy shortages. According to the International Energy Agency, 625-million people are without power in subSaharan Africa alone.
It is estimated that energy supply bottlenecks and power shortages cost Africa between 2% and 4% of gross domestic product every year, undermining economic growth, job creation and investment.
It is against this background that Wits Business School established the Africa Energy Leadership Centre (AELC) in 2017, in partnership with the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority.
“The AELC is the first of its kind in Africa and aims to address the critical issues of energy shortages in Africa as well as the skills deficit in an industry that is of vital importance to economic growth on the continent,” says Professor Rod Crompton, director of the AELC.
“This country and continent need highly skilled and knowledgeable leaders to oversee the growth and development of the burgeoning energy sector in Africa. It is exciting for us at Wits Business School to be spearheading the drive to develop such people to take Africa’s energy sector into the future,” he says.
The centre, as a hub of new research and teaching, has developed two new academic programmes that will launch in January 2019 – a master’s degree and a postgraduate diploma in the field of Energy Leadership.
“These programmes are aimed at professionals who are interested in following a career, or enhancing their existing career, in energy management,” explains Crompton. “The curricula will provide candidates with a solid foundation in all aspects of energy and energy management to help develop a new generation of decisive, effective and solutions-oriented leaders that the sector so badly needs.”
The block-release programmes have been designed to suit the needs of busy working professionals, and core modules cover everything from energy demand and supply, the role of energy in macroeconomics, strategic management of energy innovation, environmental sustainability, investment, ethics and policy, among others.
In addition, WBS is also inviting doctoral candidates to pursue PhDs to build upon the body of knowledge and develop new research in African energy leadership.
“The energy sector in Africa is an exciting place to be. It is becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent. And apart from the exponential technological change and innovation, there’s the global transition to cleaner energy,” says Crompton.
“From natural gas, oil, coal, hydro and nuclear to renewable energy, rooftop solar PVs, energy storage technologies, hydrogen, fuel cells, electric vehicles, distributed generation, mini and micro grids, DC transmission and distribution, smart metering, energy efficiency and energy management, ICT and artificial intelligence, Africa has a mix of energy technologies and capabilities. We now need to develop the leadership skills to manage change and transformation.”
Professor Rod Crompton, Director of the Wits Business School Africa Energy Leadership Centre. Photo: Supplied