The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on Tuesday began a five-day training on trainers on renewable energy expert in The Gambia, at the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI).
The UNIDO has recruited an International consultant from the Energy Centre, College of Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and a local expert from The Gambia to carry out the following assignments: conduct capacity needs assessment on renewable energy training and renewable energy curriculum development for tertiary institutions in The Gambia, develop relevant training materials, based on the capacity needs assessment, conduct train-the -trainers renewable energy expert training and renewable energy curriculum development training in The Gambia, develop and integrate RE curriculum into existing curricula at GTTI, UTG and Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and assist in the development of RE modules and training materials for courses at GTTI and UTG, based on the train-the-trainer RE Experts training modules. So far, the consultants have done a draft need assessment report and developed training materials, based on the findings of the assessment.
These draft documents were shared with all stakeholders for reviews and comments. Dr Edward Sarja Sanneh, the minister of Energy said they would agree with him that in this global economy and financial difficulties and challenges, a vibrant and reliable energy sector is the main catalyst to any meaningful and sustainable socio-economic development for any nation, in particular, the developing nations.
Therefore, he stated, it is salient to mention that no government can single-headedly finance and manage the whole energy sector without the direct involvement of the other key stakeholders, particularly the private sector. In cognizant of the government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Energy, he said, they continue to create the enabling environment for private sector involvement in the energy sector, particularly the renewable energy subsection.
According to him, some of these incentives include tax holidays and zero tax on all imports for major renewable energy components, meant for specific projects. Currently, the Ministry of Energy is working closely with all relevant stakeholders to review the list of renewable energy components that would benefit from zero tax on importation. Minister Sanneh added that his ministry strongly believes that when all these incentives are available to project developers, it would ease the financial burden on them, hence increase investment in renewable energy in The Gambia. "This giant and positive move by the Government highlights the importance it attached to renewable energy, the energy of the future."
"Thus, the main objective of the GEF/ UNIDO 4 project which is developing and promoting a market environment that will stimulate investment in renewable energy based mini-grids for productive use in rural areas in The Gambia is in line with the Ministry of Energy's policy of providing clean and sustainable energy to all and the government blue-print document, the programme of accelerated growth and employment, PAGE, which are all geared towards reducing poverty," Dr Edward Sarja Sanneh stated. The executive director of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ndey Sireng Bakurin, in her remaks, said "sustainable management of their environment and natural resources is the cornerstone for meaningful sustainable development."
She further disclosed that The Gambia government, in partnership with GEF and UNIDO are implementing this important project. One of the key components of the project, she said, is capacity-building which includes training of trainers. Bakuriu noted that the importance attached to this workshop is reflected by the turn out which has drawn members from the public institutions, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), and private sector. "It is a matter of truth to claim that, the workshop has come at the right time. As the world is in the era for sustainable energy for all, it is my belief that this project is a good contribution to it. The NEA works closely with all other stakeholders at all levels to address environmental and sustainable development efforts needed, as shown in the case of the current collaboration for this project," the NEA boss stated. The NEA boss remarked that it's timely for them to combine their knowledge, expertise, financial resource and manpower to carry out such important training.