Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Sam Kutesa has today 29 May met with Mr Brian Galabuzi Kakembo, pharmacy a student and founder of the Waste to Energy Youth Initiative (WEYI).
Mr Kakembo’s submission was selected from out of 35 others and he was chosen to sit on the 4-person “Change Maker’s” Panel at the International Student Energy Summit 2017 in Merida, Mexico.
Hon Kutesa who, as the 69th President of the United Nations General Assembly, steered the process that saw the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, expressed how, as a country Uganda is proud of Mr Kakembo’s achievements and the work he has done, “but most importantly because he will be representing Uganda and indeed Africa”, in Mexico.
Kakembo, who was selected for his contribution to SDG7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, submitted to the Panel’s selection committee, a project which uses bio-waste such as banana peelings, potato peelings, food market wastes, mixed with a binder and compressed into Charcoal briquettes which are used as an affordable and clean substitute for wood fuel.
The innovation is timely considering that some forecasts predict that private land will not have forests in the next 10 years.
A 2016 Joint Water and Environment Sector Review Report revealed that forest cover has reduced from 24 per cent in 1990 to just 11 per cent in 2015.
Between 1990 and 2005, natural forest estate outside protected areas reduced by 35 per cent (from 3.46 million hectares in 1990 to 2.3 million hectares in 2005).
People are converting hitherto forested land into agricultural land, timber and charcoal burning zones.
But Kakembo, who is implementing a Universal Strategic Goal, could change this state of affairs if his innovation if adopted and fully supported.
Giving a short re-cap of his journey to realizing his passion, Kakembo explained that as he carried out personal research on Africa’s transition to clean renewable energy; the achievements, obstacles, and the most affordable and efficient solutions for Africa.
He would later realise that in Africa’s current economic state, it could not afford a full transition to clean renewable energy using Solar, Hydro power, Wind , Vibration, nuclear or geo-thermo, as these require very heavy investment which neither the governments nor the private sector could immediately commit funds to.
Kakembo concluded that the most affordable alternative is Secondary biomass.
He informed Hon Kutesa that the WEYI project produces and sells briquettes to churches and communities around them with help from partners like Ndejje University renewable energy centre, St. Kizito High School, Namugongo and the Ministry of Energy.
They also conduct trainings to impart such skills into the community youth who later participate in the distribution of the briquettes.
All this is aimed at promoting African youth transition from wood fuel to affordable fuel briquettes and biogas generated from bio-waste.
Hon. Kutesa who was very impressed with Kakembo’s achievements congratulated him on the opportunity to represent Uganda in Mexico, wished him well as he sets off to defend Africa’s position on Renewable Energy and handed him Uganda’s National Flag as an honorary Ambassador to the Summit.