Future Female leaders in Energy graduates take Enlit Africa by storm

Last month the TEA-LP sent two of our star Future Female Leaders in Energy graduates, Jéssica Munguambe  and Simangele Plaatjies, to attend Enlit Africa 2024. The three-day event provides a platform to form new connections, share ideas and showcase recent advancements in the energy sector. Networking meet ups, panel discussions, keynote speeches and a Women in Energy event are at the heart of the event. Simangele is a junior solar engineer based in Johannesburg, South Africa and working for Sosimple Energy and Jéssica is a specialist in disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. We connected with these two inspiring women as they reflected on their experience.

Jéssica Munguambe (left) and Simangele Plaatjies (right) at the Enlit Africa conference 2024. Source: Simangele Plaatjies

What was your overall impression of the event?

Attending the ENLIT Africa 2024 event was truly a transformative experience for me as a young engineer in training. The event provided unparalleled networking opportunities, cutting-edge technology showcases, and inspiring discussions that have left a lasting impact on my professional journey.” – Simangele

Tell us about the networking opportunities:

One of the most important components of the ENLIT Africa 2024 event was the ability to make new relationships with industry experts, thinking leaders, and other energy professionals. The networking sessions enabled me to engage in meaningful conversations, exchange ideas, and form partnerships that have the potential to encourage collaboration and innovation not only limited to the solar energy sector. I had the opportunity to speak with representatives of top solar companies, government officials, and research organisations, all of whom gave excellent views and perspectives of the difficulties and potential in the African energy environment. – Simangele

Interesting [for me] was the Business Matchmaking platform, where it was possible to have meetings with other delegates, according to their areas of work and interest. I had 5 meetings, from which I left with vast knowledge and connections. The first was interested in having information about TEA-LP, and the possibility of partnership for courses, especially on renewable energy in Africa. I presented TEA-LP and the Future Female Leaders course, which generated a lot of appreciation for the teaching methodology, such as online lessons, assistance and content – Jéssica

Jéssica (right) at her first business matchmaking meeting. SOurce: Jéssica Munguambe

Tell us about the Women in Energy event you attended?

[The] WIN ladies breakfast featured discussions with women from all backgrounds and portfolios. An enlightening talk about what motivates them and how they are sharing their knowledge with other women in the field, as well as how their experiences have affected their paths in their separate careers… This event really stuck with me as it helped aid my desire for a sustainable future, which we can achieve by switching to renewable energy. And it was comforting to see that there are already women who are driving that change. – Simangele

Jéssica and Simangele at the Women in Energy breakfast event. Source: Simangele Plaatjies

The Women in Energy panel discussion was an inspiring event for our attendees. Source: Simangele Plaatjies

What really stood out for you?

[An] initiative that really impressed me was the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) AGBFI (Africa Green Business & Financing) Flagship Report launch, which aims to support the private sector’s involvement in green business and finance with the aim of driving sustainable change. This report presents an overview of the current state of green business and finance in Africa, with references to companies, projects and activities that drive growth and innovation in 9 sectors (ecotourism, renewable energy, agriculture, water, infrastructure, energy-based solutions nature, food production and next generation technology and solutions), whose methodology involved desk research, Development of Scoring Methodology for Green Business Models and Financial Opportunities, and interviews and consultations. The conclusions and recommendations in the form of actions will contribute to the next phase, of creating Action Roadmaps by Country, with three countries currently involved: Angola, Malawi and Togo. The intention is for more countries to be interested and involved, in order to improve Africa’s sustainability, through private businesses, which are immense and of different scales on the continent. To this end, there is solid collaboration between national governments, main representatives of the private sector and development institutions, in order to reduce the impacts of climate action, through climate development plans, which must consider and prioritise the impacts of their operations on environmental issues. – Jéssica

One of the most thought-provoking aspects of the event was the panel discussions and keynote presentations that addressed key issues facing the energy sector in Africa. Topics such as energy access, sustainability, and policy frameworks were thoroughly explored, providing valuable insights into the complexities of the African energy landscape. I was particularly struck by the discussions on the importance of inclusive and sustainable energy solutions that prioritise the needs of underserved communities and promote social and economic development. These discussions challenged me to think critically about the role of solar engineering in advancing energy access and sustainability in Africa and inspired me to explore new approaches and solutions to address these pressing challenges. – Simangele

Any last thoughts to share with us about Enlit Africa 2024? 

My experience at the ENLIT Africa 2024 event was truly enriching and inspiring. The event not only broadened my knowledge and understanding of the energy sector but also connected me with a diverse and dynamic community of professionals who share a common passion for advancing renewable energy in Africa. I am certain that I chose the correct field to be in. Engineering is the driving force between for the transition to renewable energy. I left the event feeling energised and motivated to continue my journey as a solar engineer, armed with new ideas, insights, and connections that will undoubtedly shape my future endeavours in the field. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended such a transformative event and look forward to applying the lessons learned to drive positive change in the African energy landscape. – Simangele

When I applied for the FFL course, I had no idea where [it] would take me. I was able to have and maintain contact with people who would normally be far from my reach. There were great proposals for future work with some delegates. I look forward to returning in 2025, and establishing more and better connections, and with much more experience to share. Thank you, TEA-LP, thank you Enlit Africa. – Jéssica

We are so thrilled that Jéssica and Simangele were able to attend Enlit Africa and have enjoyed such a productive and inspiring three days. The FFL course has introduced TEA-LP to some truly remarkable women, and we look forward to following both these ladies as they forge their careers in the energy sector.

Read more about the FFL course: here