Exploring new frontiers for the renewable energy sector was the guiding theme of the Res4Africa Conference "Renewable Energy in East-Africa: New Frontiers" held at Strathmore University in Nairobi on the 23 January 2018. Speaking at the conference, European Union Ambassador to Kenya Stefano Dejak emphasised how crucial "granting adequate access to electricity to the East Africans is to spur growth and employment, particularly for youth and women, the latter disproportionately bearing the burden of energy poverty."
Attended by Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu, H.E. Mauro Massoni, Italian Ambassador in Kenya, Ledama Olekina a Member of the Energy Commission of the Kenyan Government, Dr. Jian Liu, Chief Scientist and Ag. Director of Science Division, UN Environment and Emmanuel Kalenzi, UNIDO Representative to Kenya, Eretria, Comoros, Seychelles and South Sudan, the conference brought together crucial stakeholders. The event aimed at strengthening the fruitful collaborations that had been established since the launch of the project, which was held in October 2016 and had attracted 72 speakers and over 340 attendees from the private and public sector. For the follow-up event, participants explored new paths for renewable energy companies and discussed in what ways different actors can play a role in strengthening the sector.
The organisers of the conference, Res4Africa in partnership with the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP), believe that bringing all these stakeholders together will help establishing the renewable energy in the region. More than 600 million people still live without access to energy in the region. Hence, Res4Africa, in partnership with AEEP, identified the East-African countries as a key region where renewable energy can significantly contribute to increasing people's access to electricity and thereby improving people's lives. In addition, fostering the sector can boost market development and economic growth. In the words of EU Ambassador Dejak, the target is to "achieve smart growth with smart energy solutions".