Nicolò Stevanato, PhD

Title: The challenges for a sustainable energy access and energy transition in African contexts

Renewable energies, particularly solar power, stand at the forefront of sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa in the pursuit of a just energy transition. This keynote speech will address the critical challenges and opportunities of achieving sustainable energy access across the continent. We will explore the pivotal role of renewable energies in facilitating a just energy transition, emphasizing the unique potential of solar technology to transform energy landscapes in rural and urban areas alike.

Energy modeling emerges as a crucial tool for strategic planning and implementation, enabling policymakers and stakeholders to design effective and resilient energy access solutions. By leveraging sophisticated energy system models, we can better understand demand patterns, optimize off-grid system sizing, and develop comprehensive electrification strategies tailored to local contexts.

Furthermore, the speech will highlight the significance of international partnerships, particularly between the European Union and the African Union, in fostering collaborative efforts and capacity building. These partnerships drive technological innovation, policy alignment, and knowledge exchange, ultimately accelerating the region´s progress towards universal energy access and a sustainable energy future.


Nicolò Stevanato is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Energy at Politecnico di Milano, where he teaches the Energy Planning course.
His research focuses on energy system modeling for policy support and long-term energy planning in emerging economies, mainly focusing on access to electricity in rural areas and its role in the global energy transition. His work is divided into two main areas: enhancing the characterization of energy demand in rural communities and its impact on the optimal sizing of off-grid energy systems and developing national and regional long-term energy transition and electrification strategies. He employs bottom-up mathematical modeling and optimization of energy systems to support scientifically informed national energy policies and planning strategies.

Throughout his research career, Nicolò has participated in various European Commission Horizon2020 projects to promote renewable energy technologies in Africa. He has also worked on projects funded by private and public donors focused on energy access in Latin America and Africa, and has been involved in numerous capacity-building programs for researchers and professionals in emerging economies.

He is an active member of the IEEE Smart Village association where he is part of the Africa Committee and the Education Committee, and is involved in projects aimed at bringing basic education to the most underserved communities of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Kodjo Agbossou,  ing.,  Ph.D., MS.IEEE, IET Fellow

Title: Energy transition, technological issues and challenges in Africa.

The energy transition process in Africa faces various challenges that make it complex. The continent lacks energy infrastructures, especially in rural regions of sub-Saharan Africa, where the electricity access rate is just 50% 1 . The required investments to reinforce these infrastructures and introduce renewable energy resources are substantial, but financing is insufficient, threatening decarbonization goals by 2050 2 . Indeed, the transition to carbon-neutral economies depends not only on primary resource substitution but also on avoiding all scenarios where fossil fuels supply the increasing demand 3 . Africa has rich potential for renewable energy generation, but its exploitation needs more infrastructure, innovative low-
cost technologies, and a qualified labor force. Local initiatives like microfinancing solar panels, wind turbines, and small hydro-power plants are helpful. However, improved regional coordination is essential for a fair distribution of resources. Further measures are required to have resilient and inclusive energy systems, like improving electric grid reliability indexes, adopting energy storage technologies like batteries and hydrogen, and analyzing climate risks in system´s; planning. Smart energy management is key to achieving such a transition, as it implies investments in modern infrastructures, innovation in energy storage, and ambitious policies.

This presentation focuses on technological issues and challenges of the energy transition in Africa. Additionally, certain technical aspects of the smart grid, including energy storage in batteries and hydrogen, are analyzed. The presentation covers energy management research activities to implement the energy transition adequately. Concepts and examples involving customers' participation in energy management decisions are shown. The presentation concludes with an overview of current research works at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, particulary at the Institut de recherche sur l'hydrogène (IRH) and the Laboratoired'innovation et de recherche en énergie intelligente (LIREI).


Kodjo Agbossou received his B.S. (1987), M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1992) degrees in Electronic Measurements from the Université de Nancy I, France. He is now Hydro- Québec Research Chairholder on Transactive Management of Power and Energy in the Residential Sector, and the chair of Smart energy research and innovation laboratory of Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). He is now head of Engineering School of UQTR and was a head of Engineering School of UQTR (2011-2017). He was the head of the department Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of UQTR (2007-2011). He was also the Director of Graduate Studies in Electrical Engineering of the UQTR (2002-2004). He was a post-doctoral researcher (1993-1994) at the Electrical Engineering Department of the UQTR, and was Lecturer (1997-1998) at the same department. Over the years, he has come up with actual contributions towards residential energy management systems. His research work is internationally recognized (his publications
take place among the top 10 worldwide citations in the field of renewable energy resources and hydrogen storage integration according to Scopus and SciVal rankings). Since 2022, he is Felow IET. He has contributed to more than 325 publications, including five patents. Since 1998, he has been awarded several major individual and group research grants. Prof. Agbossou has been in collaboration with the LTE/IREQ of Hydro-Québec for more than 20 years. He has carried out several projects with the LTE/IREQ of Hydro-Québec, Economic Development Agency of Canada, the Office of Energy Efficiency and
Innovation (Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec), Natural Resources Canada, FRQNT, and NSERC. Prof. Agbossou is also the head of a research group in the UQTR's Hydrogen Research Institute where he conducts research on the distributed generation, renewable energy resources, and load management systems. Since 2015, he is sub-commitee chair on “Home and Building Energy Management of Smart Grid Technical Committee”, IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES).


Ibrahima SOW

Title: Advancing Global Environmental Goals: The Role of the Global Environment Facility in Climate Finance

This special talk  explores the pivotal role of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in catalyzing transformational shifts towards net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries.

With a focus on supporting nations to meet their commitments under international conventions, particularly the ambitious goals outlined in the GEF-8 vision, this talk highlights the GEF´s efforts to enable countries to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, restore degraded ecosystems, increase protected land and oceans, phase out hazardous chemicals, and transition towards cleaner industrial processes.

By leveraging its comparative advantage and integrating multiple environmental and sectoral dimensions into its mandate, the GEF is facilitating a "green" and "blue" recovery,
particularly in African countries.

Through impactful programs such as sustainable city development, mini-grid implementation, electric mobility promotion, energy efficiency in buildings, clean hydrogen initiatives, and blended financing mechanisms, the GEF is empowering nations to fulfill their obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) while promoting private sector inclusion in climate finance initiatives.

This paper underscores the crucial role of the GEF in driving global environmental progress and fostering sustainable development worldwide.


Credited with more than 35 years of experience, Ibrahima is leading the GEF’s regional team for Africa for the last 12 years. The GEF is the largest donor to support projects and programmes aimed at protecting the environment in areas related to Climate Change, Biodiversity, Land Degradation, International Waters and Chemicals and Waste. At the same time, he coordinates the GEF program on the Great Green Wall Initiative in the Sahel, one of the most important GEF programmes in Africa.

Prior to working at the GEF, he was the Head of the Pollution and Nuisances Division at the Directorate of Environment of Senegal and then became the first Director of the Basel Convention Regional Centre on Hazardous Wastes for Francophone Africa. Ibrahima has been an International Consultant for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), for the
World Health Organization (WHO) and for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in the fields of Climate Change and Chemicals and Waste Management. He worked at UNEP in Geneva (Secretariat of the Basel Convention) as a Program Officer. His expertise covers the management of environmental and sustainable development programs and projects, environmental diplomacy, green financing strategies for developing countries and countries with economies.

Arame Tall


Arame Tall is a Senior Adaptation & Resilience Specialist in the Climate Change Group of the World Bank. Before joining the Bank in 2017, she worked for 15 years in climate adaptation and development, holding senior positions with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Red cross/Red crescent Climate Centre.

Dr. Tall leads coordination of the Bank’s work on Adaptation & Resilience and is the team leader for the World Bank Group’s first of its kind Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience. The new plan significantly boosts support for adaptation and resilience, and also represents significantly ramped up ambition from the World Bank Group in this area.

Before joining the Bank Group, she was with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) based in Dakar Senegal, where she managed the Regional office for Africa supporting all of Africa’s 53 governments with policy guidance to mainstream adaptation and establish effective national/regional frameworks for climate services. From 2012-2015, she worked as a senior climate services scientist and champion at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), based at ICRISAT in India, then IFPRI in Washington DC, where she spearheaded among many more achievements several programs to scale up the delivery of climate information services for millions of smallholder farmers in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Prior to that, she was with the Red Cross International Federation where she served as regional technical adviser for West and Central Africa for several years, scaling up their on-ground capacity for effective climate-related disaster risk management.

With over 15 years of work experience at the interface of climate & society, Dr. Tall is one of the world experts on climate services, adaptation, resilience and community-based early warning systems, widely published on research at the nexus of climate science and societal benefits. Some of her recent publications include: “Scaling up climate services for smallholder farmers: Learning from practice”“Do climate services make a difference?”“Reducing vulnerability to climate-related disasters: A Qualitative Assessment of Disaster Management Policies across Africa, Demonstrating Heterogeneity”“Scaling up Climate Services for Farmers > Mission Possible: Learning from good practice in Africa and South Asia” and “Towards forecast-based humanitarian decisions: Climate science to get from early warning to early action”.

She holds a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University-SAIS in Climate Adaptation and African Studies, an MA from Columbia University’s Climate & Society Program, and a BA from Smith College in Anthropology and Environmental Policy.