The idea to create a network on solar energy was born during a conference in Sousse, Tunisia in November 2010. The African Network for Solar Energy (ANSOLE) was officially launched in Linz, Austria in February 2011, thus it will celebrate its 5th anniversary next year in February. A conference commemorating this event is planned from the 3rd to the 6th of February 2016 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The creation of ANSOLE was inspired by the absence of any networks or other mechanisms to facilitate concerted dialogue and learning exchange among African scientists and the lack of opportunities for students in the area of Renewable Energies (RE) research.
The main focus of ANSOLE is human capacity building in RE in Africa and the promotion of the use of RE to address both climate change issues and acute lack of energy hampering the socio-economic development of the continent. This is clearly stated in its three main goals:
- Foster technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in RE at various skill levels (capacity building),
- Foster research activities in renewable energy among African scientists and non-African scientists who are directly involved in the education of African students and experts (capacity building)
- Promote and encourage the use of RE in Africa (substainable development and economy, environmental protection, etc.).
As the network expanded, so did the ANSOLE mandate, to include researchers involved with other RE technologies such as biogas and fields applying RE such as “water”. As a result, ANSOLE now seeks to bring together stakeholders from the fields of academia, production, distribution of all RE technologies to one table, and acts as a global networking platform for them.
ANSOLE is determined to carry out measures that have immediate practical applications by opening and broadening the energy agenda and by systematically incorporating RE in policy and planning discussions.
From inception, ANSOLE has sought to strengthen and increase African research and development capacity by providing scholarships to students requiring access to state-of-the-art-equipment and training in its use, with an emphasis on connecting researchers in African laboratories. ANSOLE has also engaged in promoting RE use in Africa and broadening the African RE market through the website.
ANSOLE is a fast growing entity with presently more than 800 members located in 40 African countries and 24 non-African countries. The goal is to be present all over Africa within the next two years. The network has been registered as a non-profit organization of the name “ANSOLE e.V.” in Jena, Germany. Its major activities are:
- Organisation of RE conferences, symposia & workshops:
With the aim to regularly create a platform of getting together, knowledge & information exchange, networking, scientific evaluation of its fellows, etc, and with the desire to bring scientific events close to African students and researchers, ANSOLE (co)organizes every year various types of meetings in Africa. So far eight events have been organized and the immediate upcoming ones are:
*Volkswagen-Stiftung sponsored workshop on “Renewable Energies for Africa: Solar Energy and its Applications”, (RE-Africa 2015), 13-18 July 2015, Nelson Mandela African Institution for Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Arusha Tanzania
*ANSOLE DAYS 2015, 16-18 July 2015, NM-AIST, Arusha, Tanzania
*5th Anniversary of ANSOLE (2011-2016): International Conference on Renewable Energies, (INCORE 2016), 3-6 February 2016, Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt
*Bridging Africa, Latin America and Europe in Water and Renewable Energies Applications, (BALEWARE 2016), 11-13 December 2016, Accra, Ghana (or Yaounde, Cameroon)
- Assisting in organization of non-ANSOLE RE related events worldwide and facilitating African participation to such events:
By signing of media partnership with organizers of RE events in Africa and elsewhere stipulating the dissemination of events information through the ANSOLE website, mailing list and newsletter, ANSOLE increases the awareness of such events, thus facilitating their attendance. Media partnership warrants a registration fee discount in the order of 20 to 50% to ANSOLE members and two free passes and the placement of ANSOLE logo, as supporting organization, on the event website.
In many cases, ANSOLE actively assists organizers of conferences out of Africa in the selection African participants (Hamburg 2011, Giessen 2012, Brussels 2012, Istanbul 2013, Dresden 2014, Berlin 2014)
- Training, education & research
With funding from the ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics), ANSOLE e.V, (and hopefully other future sponsors), ANSOLE offers the following scholarships to selected undergraduate and postgraduate students in RE sector:
1) ANSOLE “Sur-Place” Fellowship (ANSUP): Bachelor, Masters and PhD students are sponsored at their home institution of learning.
2) Intra-African Exchange Program (INEX) offered mostly to Masters and PhD students as well as Postdocs to encourage research exchange among African universities (South-South exchanges)
3) Africa-North Exchange (ANEX): African students (Masters, PhD and Postdocs) are sponsored to carry out experimental research in well-equipped laboratories in Europe and North America. European and North American students with own funding use this program to be mediated for scientific stays in African laboratories or institutions (South –North exchange).
4) Africa-Latin America Exchange (ALAMEX): This upcoming South-South exchange is geared at encouraging scientific exchanges between African and Latin American laboratories in the fields of RE and water. Water decontamination is an issue pertinent to both continents and needs to be addressed in a collaborative way.
Applicants to the various fellowship programs go through a selection process. A selection committee – consisting of six members (three men and three women) – selects the fellows based on a points system. A minimum score of 60 points out of 100 is a prerequisite for earning a scholarship. In case of two or many candidates having the same points, and taking into account the available funds, fellows are then chosen based on regional balance and gender issues. Female applicants are most time favoured.
Apart from its fellowship programs, ANSOLE facilitates students mobility by mediating students and scientists with own fellowship to laboratories or institutions in Africa or elsewhere. Till date 22 students have benefited from either our sponsorship or our mediation effort, among them 13 female students, clearly demonstrating the desire of ANSOLE to empower women.
ANSOLE’s involvement in vocational training of skills in RE is planned as from 2016 through cooperation with existing vocational training institutions in Africa. The first training activities on solar cookers, solar photovoltaics, solar lamps and wood saving stoves will be carried out at the Professional Training Center in Yaounde-Nsimalen, Cameroon.
- Rapid RE information dissemination and facilitator of consortia building
RE information from different sources (e.g from organizers of RE events in Africa, funding agencies, scholarship programs, job offers, etc) are rapidly disseminated to our members and non-members by using ANSOLE´s mailing lists, website, and since 2014, newsletter (e-Magazine as from 2015). ANSOLE is moreover consulted when there are calls for submission of joint proposals within Africa or between Africa and Europe. ANSOLE helps bring interested persons together who can then form consortia to submit joint proposals.
- RE public education & awareness raising in Africa:
ANSOLE uses all giving opportunities (live radio programs, TV interviews, popular theatre, open air-events, photo expositions, website, newsletter, lectures, etc) to raise awareness on the importance of RE and their positive impact on the health and the environment.
- Business mediation
To avoid jobless, trained skills, technical and vocational training in RE sector need be paired with jobs creation. A possible area of jobs creation is in food and beverage industries where RE can constitute the main energy source in the industrial process. This is a growing sector for example in Germany, Austria and Switzerland where a number of “solar” breweries (and slowly solar food processing industries) have emerged in recent years. ANSOLE has been contacted by the founder of the “Solarbier” concept, Mr Hubert Brandl, to propagate the idea in Africa and search for interested business partners.
- ANSOLE website (www.ansole.org)
ANSOLE website and mailing lists are the most useful platforms of information disseminations. The website propagates information about RE events, job offers, training, funding opportunities, teaching materials on RE, etc. The long term goal is to make it a platform of online learning on various RE topics.
- ANSOLE Newsletter (e-Magazine as from 2015)
It publishes ANSOLE periodical reports, country-specific detailed RE information, event calendars, life stories, scientific reports (ANSOLE encourages its student members to use this platform to train how to write scientific articles) , information of general interest, etc. The three issues of 2014 and a supplement can be downloaded at www.ansole.org. Articles can be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Assisting in the creation of national networks
ANSOLE initiated and assisted in the creation of Cameroon Renewable Energy Network (CAMREN) in 2012. This process will continue in countries without existing national networks.
- Award of ANSOLE Prizes ( as from 2016)
As from 2016, ANSOLE will be awarding Prizes to outstanding students in the field of RE and Water
- Other activities
ANSOLE is one of the mouthpieces of Africa in RE issues. The coordinator and ANSOLE national representatives are/can be contacted by various media to obtain ANSOLE view on actual RE-related issues.
-As time goes on and the network is growing, new fields of activities will arise through initiatives from our members or through interactions with other institutions
To carry out its various activities ANSOLE relies financially on donations. Every amount is welcome. Companies/institutions supporting ANSOLE activities obtained the following in return:
- Interactive logo is placed on ANSOLE website
- Products and services can be advertised on ANSOLE website
- ANSOLE mailing lists can be used for quick dissemination of information
- Report on company/institution in ANSOLE e-Magazine
- Sponsor is mentioned in presentations and documents of ANSOLE
- Sponsor´s flyers are displayed during ANSOLE events
- Sending of delegates and display of products at ANSOLE events
- Other return-services can be negotiated
Daniel A. M. Egbe was born in Mambanda Cameroon on the 20th of May 1966. He obtained his BSc in Physics and Chemistry in 1991 at the University of Yaounde Cameroon. He moved to the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena Germany in 1992, where he obtained a Masters and a PhD in Chemistry in 1995 and 1999, respectively. He completed his “Habilitation” in Organic Chemistry at the same institution in 2006, before spending scientific stays at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany (02/2006-08/2006), at the Technical University of Eindhoven in Holland (2006-2007) and at the Technical University of Chemnitz, Germany (2007-2008). Since 2009, he lectures and researches at Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria. His main research interest is the design of semiconducting materials for optoelectronic applications (organic light-emitting diodes, organic solar cells, organic field-effect transistors, etc) and photocatalytic reduction of CO2. He is member of German Chemical Society (GDCh), Organic Electronics Association (OE-A), World University Service (WUS) (board member). He is the initiator of the German-Cameroonian Coordination Office, initiator and International Coordinator of the African Network for Solar Energy (ANSOLE), initiator and chairperson of ANSOLE e.V., a NGO which legally represents ANSOLE, and initiator of the Cameroon Renewable Energies Network (CAMREN). He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and is coauthor of book on renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa.