Motswana innovator stuns the world

04th May 2017
Eunice Ntobedzi Source:The Midweek Sun


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

Botswana Energy Innovation Ambassador Eunice Ntobedzi has been selected as a finalist for the “Outstanding Woman of the Year” in the Energy sector for Africa.

She is acknowledged by industry peers for her contribution to development using new Financial Technologies (FinTech) which she has been developing since May 2015. Eunice’s new services will help the unbanked access energy services and potentially bring millions of Africans to the energy market.
“EmPowered” an energy management platform, was selected because of its use of innovative FinTech based on use of Mobile, Cloud and Blockchain platforms. The first in Africa, it is regarded a market leader by the energy industry and set to change the way Bottom of the Pyramid customers access a wide range of energy services and products.

EmPowered was selected by a panel of international industry experts from candidates across the African Continent. The innovation was developed by Eunice Ntobedzi a Director of Energy Service Company in response to the need to increase diversity of the current energy supply specifically for off grid communities in rural regions of Africa.

It was also developed to specifically take advantage of the huge potential Botswana has for renewable Solar PV and bring new people to the energy market.
The project was recently “pitched at an event attended by the heads of Barclays Investment Africa, Stanbic, FNB and BancABC”, who were so impressed with the concept that they have facilitated and organised meetings with international investors and potential VC to support the service.

Other Banks and MFI companies have shown great interest and offered to partner with the developer. Currently an international partnership has been established to help integrate the service with the energy technologies to service five African countries supported by the EU.

In recognition of her contribution to the energy issues in Africa, Ntobedzi was awarded a prestigious UK Chevening scholarship in 2016 to enable her to undertake research in new FinTech service supporting the energy market. She then secured a place at the world leading Adam Smith business school at University of Glasgow and was awarded a MSc in 2016.

In October 2016 Ntobedzi was invited by the UK High Commission to discuss her EmPowered FinTech with HRH The Duke of York during his visit for the celebration of the Botswana’s Golden Jubilee.  Ntobedzi with her colleagues also talked about their plans for other Solar PV projects they have been developing in the grid and off grid space.  

In June 2016 by way of acknowledgement for her contribution to energy services in Botswana  Ntobedzi was awarded a special Minister award by the Botswana Government for her work in developing the rural solar schools project with the Ministry of Education and developing of the Solar Clinics project to bring electricity to off grid medical facilities around the country, a project  Ntobedzi is now working with the UN and other agencies.

Commenting on the award, she said: “With an estimated 660 Million Africans without access to electricity the need to develop new ways to service this market is critical. It is no longer a power generation issue but how do we make projects and business models bankable so we can attract the FDI required.”

A recent report by the World Bank confirmed that over 50 percent of the population still do not have access to a secure electrical supply. Ntobedzi therefore highlights that, the energy security is a cornerstone for maintaining Botswana’s economic growth and delivery of the sustainable development goals and NDP11.

She believes her innovation will increase the adoption of renewable energy use and diversify the dependence on grid energy supply.
“I am not only representing Botswana but also Africa. I have been working with international partners and a legal team supported by the Botswana Innovation Hub who are finalising the IP registration, I have already had support from Bank of Botswana and other regulatory partners in other regions of Africa.” 

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