Covid is one of Africa’s leading wind energy companies
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Representatives of two of Africa’s leading wind energy companies have announced their resignation from the continent amid concerns over a brain drain.
“It is with profound regret that I write this letter… given the tremendous opportunity that I have been given to work with Covid in helping accelerate and further develop the manufacturing capacity in the construction of wind power projects throughout Africa,” Ugandan Mohamed Adam said in a letter to Covid bosses in his home country.
Covid has about 1,700 employees in Africa and Britain. It is one of the world’s leading wind energy companies and owns a controlling stake in Africa’s largest wind energy producer in Mozambique.
Adam told AFP that he planned to move to Britain this year to work with Covid, while Nigerian Nneka Nwaka, who also works in the construction of wind farms, said in a post on Twitter that she had decided to leave Nigeria in search of greener pastures and other opportunities.
Adam told AFP that Nigeria was the “most important” country to work in for Covid because of its “superb” location and workforce.
“Everyone makes decisions to leave the continent on their own,” he said.
“There are many fantastic things going on in Africa, but the environment is not conducive for everyone to be successful. The people that have made it the second most developed continent in the world are no longer making it,” Adam added.
He explained that there was a “lack of leadership” in Africa to ensure the continent’s “development and progress”.
Both could have stayed in their positions had it not been for the continent’s volatile political landscape, he said.
Robert Koetz, a Ugandan economist and investment banker, told AFP that they may have been targeted because the firms lacked African expertise.
“You have to know that Africa is not a hermetically sealed organisation. Companies get jobs when they are able to get qualified talent.”
– ‘Not easy’ –
Adam had been with Covid for almost 10 years and he also said he was retiring from Ugandan politics to go and work abroad.
But he added that the decision would leave a big void in Uganda and Mozambique for sure.
“I will miss Mozambique, the home country where I have become established. I feel sad. I have built my family there and I have done a lot of work there as well.
“They will have to replace me and it will be tough to go.”
Covid holds a controlling stake in the Maputo-based Acciona company, Mozambique’s leading wind power developer, which is building wind farms in the country.
Nwaka, working with Acciona, leads a group of engineers and designers of wind farms in Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique.
She said in her post on Twitter that the “tough call” to leave Nigeria was not easy.
Nwaka added: “Nigeria needs ‘beautiful energy’ for homes and power stations. We need to ensure that this is not left to the global community or the generality of Africans.
“I will join my former colleagues in Acciona. We have worked as engineers, design engineers, project managers, project owners and operators across Africa and have all been proud to design, build and maintain successful wind farms.”
According to Covid’s own figures, the company owns 48 wind farms in Mozambique alone that are capable of generating a total capacity of 488 megawatts, of which it owns 60 percent.
Covid will also take over management of Mozambique’s 100 megawatt Fair Island wind farm, which had previously been owned by Indian firm GAIL, to use for power exports to Angola.
Its CEO Jeffery Torkington said in an email that he was “so proud of what we’ve achieved” in the continent.
“We’ve developed hundreds of megawatts of capacity and powered the equivalent of over 50,000 homes.”
But he said that the high costs of electricity in Africa, plus a “significant” need for more transmission infrastructure, were holding back progress in that regard.
“As a result of our recent projects we are approaching that point where we have reached our reinvestment limits with our current project partners,” he said.
© 2019 AFP