Climate Change and Renewable Energies in Africa

IMG_0021IMG_0064Against this background, 36 of our African scholars met in Hechingen with 4 colleagues from the Cusanuswerk and the Albertus Magnus program for the seminar “Climate Change and Renewable Energies in Africa”. The seminar had the theme: “Climate Change and Renewable Energies in Africa” and was led by Dr. Marko Kuhn, the head of the KAAD Africa department, Miriam Rossmerkel, assistant at the same department, and Prof. Thomas Eggensperger, spiritual chaplain of KAAD events. Participants from nine countries and with a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds started exploring the topic with group work on perspectives and realities of climate change and renewable energies in their countries of origin. Hansol Park from the UNCCD in Bonn (“United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification”) then brought concrete expertise on the negative effects of climate change on the land use sector to the program with his presentation on adaptation strategies of African states.

Further high-level Africa expertise was provided by Prof. Dr. Andreas Fink from KIT Karlsruhe with his presentation on the extent, impact and mitigation strategies for accelerated climate change on the continent. Both lectures sparked lively and critical discussions which led to fruitful reflections for many participants.

IMG_0267IMG_0071 (2)IMG_0058 (2)In the midst of wintery-snowy scenery, the group also went on an excursion which made renewable energy to be observed and experienced quite practically: The wind farm “Himmelberg” and the biogas plant “BioEnergie Bittelbronn eG”. In both places, not only the engineers among the group benefited from the insights into the technical details of wind turbines and behind the scenes of biogas mechanisms.

The professional diversity of the participants’ backgrounds furthermore proved to be particularly rewarding in the course of the entire seminar in exciting presentations by the participants themselves. These offered a wide range of knowledge and covered the following topics: electricity grid expansion in Germany, geothermal energy in the Rift Valley of East Africa, photovoltaics in Kenya, soil fertility in Ethiopia, climate change and gender in Zimbabwe, energy infrastructure in Ghana.

IMG_0059These topics were continued in a spiritual manner during the morning prayer and the Holy Mass under the spiritual guidance of Dr. Thomas Eggensperger. In line with the season of advent and the feastday of St. Nicholas, a pre-Christmas celebration was held with many elements of from the traditions of the participants’ home-societies.

In the spirit of the lively and inspiring discussions of the seminar, a continuation this Africa seminar was created on the platform of social media: The KAAD African Parliament was officially brought back to life. Thus, after some discussion in the plenary, a new framework and new speakers were chosen for this discussion platform. In future, all African KAAD scholars and alumni will be able to discuss pertinent political and social topics in this virtual forum. For example – in the tradition of this seminar – ways of dealing with climate change and renewable energies on the African continent.