ENGIE confirms solar plan for Africa at Energy Forum in Mauritius
The French utility, ENGIE, has announced its plans to launch off-grid energy in Africa at the Africa Energy Forum.
The news was revealed at the event, which is taking place between 19-22 June in Mauritius, with ENGIE confirming it intends to expand its solar home system (SHS) and mini-grid activities.
Through its unit, ENGIE PowerCorner, the firm will introduce new mini-grid projects to Zambia, whilst the Fenix subsidiary will target Côte d’Ivoire with its SHS.
The recent plans are part of the company’s ultimate goal to supply access to decarbonised, decentralised energy provision to 20mn people globally by 2020.
“Advances in decentralised energy put universal access within reaching distance, but the scale of the challenge is significant,” stated Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa.
- European investors target Kenyan renewable energy projects
“As governments work hard to improve electrification rates, decentralised solutions must be part of the mix.”
“The extension of national grids, combined with the development of local mini-grids and solar home systems can together be a viable solution towards the UN's 7th Sustainable Development Goal, provision of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”
“Demand for clean and safe energy across Africa is continuing to increase, and the supply needs to rise in both speed and quantity.”
“It is encouraging to see a number of African governments and regulators putting renewable energy at the core of their energy policies and implementing much-needed supporting regulations.”
“We are looking forward to working with them to expand energy access faster and sustainably.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.