Initiating A Leadership Conversation In Moshi District On Development & Energy Solutions

Development and Energy Challenges in Africa

It is self-evident that energy is the basis for socioeconomic development. It is also evident that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the epicentre of energy poverty. Of SSA’s one billion inhabitants, 620 million do not have electricity, while 730 cook with solid biomass. The paradox is that while solar is revolutionizing the energy sector globally, SSA risks being left behind.

What Is The Issue?

In SSA, there is a tendency to see development and energy solutions as the responsibility of national governments and donors. And yet the results from such a belief have been disastrous for SSA for much of post independence period. Billions of dollars are spent annually to facilitate development with little to show for it. For example development aid to SSA for 2015 was a colossal US$46 billion. Development aid to East African countries amounted to US$7 billion in the same year. A significant part of this money is tied aid that is spent on experts and consultancies from donor countries that perpetuates dependency and poor results. This conventional or first generation capacity development that is aid-dependent should be abandoned.

Second Generation Capacity Development

We are calling for second generation capacity building that is driven by domestic leaders, their communities, and home-grown institutions. Second generation capacity development begins with, and is embedded in what we call engaged leadership conversations. These conversations enable leaders to share ownership of the substance of their discussion. In truly engaged leadership conversations, we see leaders putting forth their own ideas, and hearts and souls onto forefront of development practices. In second generation capacity development, success or failure is therefore determined by the quality of leadership on the ground including, a) political leaders; b) religious leaders; c) public service administration leaders; d) business leaders, and e) educational/training leaders.

A Different Type Of Collaboration With The Outside World

In the second generation capacity, collaboration with the external world does not lead to dependence. Collaboration becomes knowledge exchanges based on specific and time-bound needs. This works best when the knowledge exchange is tailored to empowering local leaders and domestic institutions to solve their own challenges. Put differently, knowledge exchanges “lend” temporary capacity to supplement domestic capabilities – and does not pretend to do more than that.

Moshi Leadership Conversations and Development/Energy Challenges

In its conversations, the Moshi District leadership has identified energy as the key challenge. In order to develop a knowledge exchange with the Canadian side to address the Moshi challenges, four analyses are fundamental for shedding light on the current realities:

  1. Understanding the Moshi District development vision;
  2. Appreciation of human, institutional, and financial challenges that hinder the realization of the Moshi District’s development vision;
  3. The current energy capacities, and energy mixes, as well as the sector’s actors;
  4. The relationship between central government and the district, and their respective capacities to generate development financing.

Do the above analyses exist? And if not not, can a rapid mapping exercise be undertaken to clarify the above four realities?

Moving Forward

Moving forward would involve the following steps:

  1. Prof Alfred Ngowi to engage with the Moshi leadership to shed light on the above four things required to understand Moshi’s challenges.
  2. Prof Ngowi’s Canadian counterparts to prepare a consultative meeting between the Moshi and the Toronto sides. In Toronto, we are building a Canadian coalition for solar energy development in Africa, made up of technical colleges, solar industry, and energy policymakers. We are keen to engage with the Moshi Leadership via knowledge exchange to support the Moshi effort.
  3. The Moshi-Canadian consultative meeting should at least be held by October 2017 – which will be the foundation for crafting an agenda for collaboration based on Moshi’s needs.

In the meantime, the two sides will continuously exchange views and nurture this exercise forward.

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