2022 JURY

Anita Otubu
Head of the Project Management Unit of the Nigeria Electrification Project, REA Nigeria

Anita is currently the Head of the Project Management Unit of the $550 million Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), under the Rural Electrification Agency, which aims to accelerate the private market for the development/deployment of mini grids, captive power plants and solar home systems for unserved and underserved homes, enterprises, educational and healthcare institutions. She is also the programme manager for phase 1 of the Energizing Education Programme (EEP).

Anita also serves as a member of the following: Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)’s Universal Energy Facility (UEF), United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UN-OSAA)’s Knowledge Network, Technical Advisory Group for the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Board of Chanja Datti (recycling company).

Anita is a qualified lawyer and certified project manager, with professional experience in electric power, oil and gas and climate change.

Lawrence Lin
Rwanda Off-Grid Advisor, Power Africa Off-grid Project

Lawrence Lin works in support of the implementation of the USAID-funded Power Africa Off-grid Project (PAOP) in Rwanda. PAOP is focused on accelerating off-grid energy access through targeted grants and technical assistance to the private sector, government, and donors. He also previously worked for the USAID mission in Uganda to launch initial Power Africa activities there and to provide support for private sector development in agriculture, health, and finance.

Prior to his time with USAID, Lawrence worked for the U.S. Department of State to advance diplomacy and development through science, technology, and innovation. His portfolio included issues related to energy, climate change, agriculture, and urbanization, with a particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lawrence has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California Santa Barbara and a B.Sc. in Physics from Brown University.

Nicole Mukwindi Uwineza
President, POWERHer

Nicole is a Senior Engineer who manages a thermal power plant With 6 years of experience in energy generation, Nicole holds a master’s degree in Renewable Energy and a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Rwanda/College of Science and Technology.

Nicole is a co-founder and 1st president of POWERHer, a network of women working in the Energy sector in Rwanda, she is a committee member of Institute of Engineer Rwanda (IER), Women chapter.

She is an inspiration to young women in her country and is concerned about future gender equity in the energy sector.She is working with different organizations and companies to empower girls and women to have hands-on skills experience and a package of knowledge for their career development.

Nicole holds certificates from international training program on management of power generation plant  and other related certificates like Power Africa virtual foundational gender training, Cop sexual harassment in workplace, SEE change Empower Employee training and other trainings.

Dr. Mohamed Alhaj
Founder & Director, Clean Energy 4 Africa

Dr. Mohamed Alhaj is the founder and director of Clean Energy 4 Africa (CE4A), which is an African think-tank that aims to accelerate the sustainable energy transition in Africa. “Clean Energy 4 Africa” works in the areas of market intelligence (with demonstrated expertise in the Sudan market), consultancy and market assessment projects, and youth capacity building programs. Clean Energy 4 Africa has been recognized by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth as being among the top 98 youth initiatives globally that promote SDG7.

Dr. Mohamed is an expert and award-winning researcher, a peer reviewer for several international journals, and a renewables project engineer. He has done extensive research in the areas of concentrated solar power, desalination technology, environmental life-cycle assessment, and renewable energy policy. He is also an contributing author in the REN21 Global Status Report (2021) and the Middle East Solar Industries Association (MESIA)’s Annual Solar Outlook Report (2022).

Jean Marie Takouleu
Editor-in-Chief, AFRIK 21

A graduate of the Higher School of Information and Communication Science and Technology (ESSTIC) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Jean Marie Takouleu began his career as a journalist in the Cameroonian media before proceeding internationally. For 4 years, he has been working at AFRIK 21, the reference media on the themes of the environment, energy transition, green economy and sustainable development in Africa. AFRIK 21 is based in Paris, France, with its desk (editorial) based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Editor-in-Chief of AFRIK 21, Jean Marie Takouleu, follows and covers issues related to energy transition and the development of renewable energies in Africa. In this sense, it follows the revolution that the African continent is experiencing in terms of electrification thanks to solar energy, as well as its autonomous and decentralized solutions.

Max Hall
Print Journalist, PV Magazine

Max is a print journalist who has worked full-time for Berlin-based solar industry trade publication pv magazine since 2018, after being employed part-time for the publisher from 2012-15. Having cut his teeth as a news reporter in the UK since 1997, he has also worked as a football writer and in the environmental consultancy, education, local government, infrastructure, aerospace, and forensic science sectors.

Max lives in Genoa, northern Italy and is always on the lookout for new clients interested in using his writing, editing, picture editing and page design skills. Despite writing regularly about the African solar industry for pv magazine, Max has never set foot in Africa and hopes to do so next year, at the Africa Cup of Nations!

Isabel Cancela de Abreu
Executive Director, ALER

Isabel Cancela de Abreu is an Environmental Engineer with an Executive Master on Sustainable Energy Systems. Her experience in renewable energies started at APREN, the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association, where she was Director of the Technical Department. Isabel was afterwards invited to work as Policy Advisor at EREC, the European Renewable Energy Council.

Later on, she decided to take advantage of her national and international experience to found ALER, the Lusophone Renewable Energy Association, where she now works as Executive Director. In addition, Isabel was also a social volunteer in Niassa - Mozambique and did an internship at Grameen Shakti in Bangladesh to learn about their microcredit and Solar Home Systems programs.

Ruchi Soni
Programme Manager, SEforALL

Ruchi is a Programme Manager at SEforALL where she leads the initiative on Results-based Financing and Universal Energy Facility.

Ruchi has over 14 years of experience in clean energy and decentralized last-mile electricity models. Prior to her role at SEforALL, she was the Manager of Energy Access at the UN Foundation, where she oversaw the Foundation’s involvement on mini-grids including the Mini-Grids Partnership and the Energy Access Practitioner Network. She has previously worked for the World Bank and ESMAP for nine years, where she was part of teams responsible for the design and scaling-up of commercially-viable and innovative business models for electricity access. She was also the program manager at wPOWER, a U.S Department of State initiative, where she directed program development, donor management and communication for wPOWER Hub’s impact.

Ruchi has worked on policy issues, authored several publications on energy issues and contributed to global knowledge flagship products at the World Bank, ESMAP. She has been involved in designing and implementing national-level energy programs in Asia (India, Afghanistan, Fiji Islands), Latin America (Mexico) and Africa (Tanzania, Kenya). She was also responsible for program coordination, and resource planning for various energy access related programs and analytical studies.