Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 July 2016
Sierra Leone’s presidential hopeful, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella has in the last week travelled to Europe and the United States, where he met with the Republican Senator of Arkansas – John Boozman and his staff.
They discussed various issues, including the economic and political situation in Sierra Leone in particular and the West African region in general.
Dr. Yumkella’s global leadership on energy issues, and his bold decision to return to politics in his native land Sierra Leone, were also discussed.
Boozman was elected to the United States Senate in 2010, defeating Democratic incumbent Blanche Lambert Lincoln by a 21-point margin, becoming the first Republican to be elected to the seat since the Reconstruction Era.
Dr. Yumkella also attended the board meeting of the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) – a powerful lobby group that brings together industry leaders in power generation, transmission and distribution, and manufacturing.
ASE is also comprised of leading companies that are heavy users of energy, such as Dow Chemicals, Phillips, and Schneider Electric, among others.
Dr. Yumkella was given an award by ASE in 2015 for his vision, and was elected to the Board early this year.
Senator Portman is a member of the Senate Committees on Finance, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, as well as a member of the sub-committees on Energy and Natural Resources, and Budget.
Senator Shaheen is the former chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee, and former Governor of New Hampshire (1997-2003). He now serves as a member of the Foreign Relations, Armed Forces, Appropriations, and the Small Business Committees.
Both senators are leading the drive to promote innovation and technological change in the US energy sector.
The Shaheen-Portman Bill or the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, has already been endorsed by a coalition of more than 200 businesses, trade associations, and advocacy groups.
In addition, a broad coalition of supporters sent a letter to Senate leadership, expressing their strong support for bringing Shaheen-Portman to the Senate floor for a vote. The discussions mentioned Dr. Yumkella’s effort to eradicate energy poverty in Africa in general, and in Sierra Leone in particular.
Last Friday, July 1, Dr. Yumkella attended the meeting of the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).
It could be recalled that he was appointed commissioner of this blue ribbon group last year.
The ETC includes leading global corporations and research institutions such as Shell, Blackrock, World Resources Institute, McKinsey and former president Phillipe Calderon of Mexico.
Their goal is to provide new ideas on how to revolutionize the global energy systems to reduce greenhouse gases, and spur investments and R&D in low-carbon and super-efficient energy technologies.
En route to the United States, Dr. Yumkella spent a few days in his second home in Vienna Austria, where he delivered a lecture at the Institute of Regions of Europe (IRE) on the topic “Economic Changes and Challenges of Migration”.
The migration issue has rocked Europe and now threatens to break up the EU with the impending Brexit.
Yumkella was interviewed by Austria’s Der Standard Newspaper. He spoke about how large movement of people from Africa could be avoided in the future. He noted that by 2050, two billion people will be living in Africa, 60-70 percent under the age of 30, which will be the largest migration potential in history.
He made a recommendation for Europe to establish more Public-Private-Partnerships in Africa, which could create new sales markets for European companies and keep more young people in Africa.
Furthermore, he noted that Europe should provide more migration possibilities to young Africans “because on average the European populations are old, the societies need migrants.
As former Director General of UNIDO, Dr. Yumkella is credited with his persistent advocacy in the EU, for wealth creation and expanding economic opportunities in Africa to prevent illegal migration.