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Supporting African countries’ development: Interview with Zuki Jakavula, coordinator of the Africa LEDS Partnership

Zukisani Jakavula, coordinator of the Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP), shares his experiences of the role and the AfLP’s potential to support African countries’ development.

What is your role in the Africa LEDS Partnership?

I am responsible for the administration systems, procurement and contracting procedures for the Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP) and render my support to the Africa Partnership’s Secretariat

What’s your background in LEDS issues?

I have 20 years of experience in the fields of renewable energy and water infrastructure, and have worked in project management for large renewable energy projects in wind, solar PV and water infrastructure. I’ve also been involved with

OXFAM‘s Just Energy programme, where I championed community ownership of wind farms under South Africa’s big Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), which aims to stimulate the renewable energy industry towards a 3,725 megawatt production of electricity through renewables, and thus contribute to socioeconomic and environmentally sustainable growth.

What are you most enjoying about the job?

That it allows me to use my experiences and skills to design, build and to implement multi-million dollar green projects in solar, wind and water, and to explore new business ventures by tapping into Africa’s rural electrification market and Low Emissions Development (LEDS) initiatives.

How can current and potential Africa LEDS members make the platform’s work even more influential and supportive of African countries’ development?

They can help by continuing to share knowledge and engage deeply with country and regional activities. They can also advance the LEDS proposition by fostering intellectual input and group discussion on topics, and test and legitimatize the emerging ideas with highly-regarded experts. It’s very important that the interests and skills of every individual are explored in order to set up discussions on for potential roles of future activities. On an organisational approach, we should be identifying synergies and risks with existing initiatives and other future plans. All of this will help us strengthen relationships and start building a sense of a community of practice

Is the platform truly pan-African?‎

It is, but it can be improved by making sure that more countries are encouraged to participate.

What did the AfLP undertake at the LEDS GP Annual Event? What do you think the Africa LEDS Partnership has to offer delegates at COP21?

At the LEDS GP Annual Event, which took place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from October 14-16, we facilitated table discussions in the following topics: Investment planning for low emission development; Innovative solutions to climate finance: Blended finance for private sector projects, and; Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) – Access to Climate Finance for AFOLU LEDS.

The Annual Event offered the opportunity for participants to network with colleagues from other platforms, and share lessons learnt from activities and events that the other platforms have undertaken. It provided a great insight on how to make the AfLP more effective, more organised and illustrated what kind of activities will help the platform move forward in the coming years.

At COP21, we will be hosting a side event that gives an overview of the Africa LEDS Partnership and our efforts to expand participation, and we will seek to engage the European Commission (EC) and United Nations Enviornment Programme (UNEP) in an event that highlights the collaborative LEDS modeling and planning project with the AfLP.

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