The Nordics as pioneers in developing jobs and skills in Africa The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa contributing to employment within the off-grid sector

Tuesday 9 November 2021

15:30 – 16:30 GMT  (15:30 UTC+2)

Location: Nordic Pavilion, COP26 Venue (Hall 4), Glasgow + online streaming

Organised in collaboration with Denmark.

Off-grid energy is still a largely untapped opportunity for creating jobs for youth. The sector is emerging as a significant employer in emerging economies that suffer from high rates of joblessness. Supporting the development of the off-grid energy sector can therefore have a wide and positive job creation impact in addition to support countries in mitigate their climate impact and accelerate their green transition.

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) is a multi-donor programme bringing clean and affordable energy access to underserved people in rural and peri-urban areas in Sub-Saharan African countries. The aim is to enable the establishment of up to 1.35 million energy connections and benefit more than 6 million people by 2026.

Denmark and Sweden are within the BGFA programme supporting job creation and skills development in Africa. The goal for the job creation sub-programme in Uganda is to create at least 300 decent jobs within the Uganda off-grid solar energy sector and as well as to support different activities to pilot skills development.

Online streaming

The event will be streamed through, which is streaming all Nordic events from Glasgow and Helsinki.


Moderator: Ash Sharma, Head of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, Nefco

15:30 Opening by Flemming Møller Mortensen, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation

15:32 Welcoming by moderator

15:35 Keynote by Simon Trace, Principal Consultant, Oxford Policy Management: Establishing a job creation agenda for the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa in Uganda

15:45 Introduction to the panel discussion by Kristina Skierka, CEO, Power for All: Bridging the skills gap in the off-grid sector

15:55 Panel discussion

16:20 Q&A and conclusions


Kristina Skierka, CEO, Power for All

Kristina Skierka, CEO, Power for All
Kristina Skierka is the CEO of Power for All, a global campaign to accelerate the end of energy poverty. She manages an international team that has built a coalition of more than 300 partners and launched initiatives to accelerate the adoption of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) in numerous countries including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, India, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Kristina has over 20 years of experience in the energy sector. With a global reputation for her work to advance clean technologies, Kristina is regularly cited as an expert on distributed energy, renewables and sustainability. Kristina was named Energy Foundation’s Senior Fellow in 2009, a finalist for both the 2015 Clean Energy Ministerial’s C3E award and the 2016 Climate Solutions Accelerator. Kristina has been named one of The African Power & Energy Elites for 2020 by ESI Africa. 

Simon Trace, Oxford Policy Management

Simon Trace, Principal Consultant, Oxford Policy Management
Simon Trace is Principal consultant at Oxford Policy Management and Programme Director for two FCDO-funded projects: the Applied Research Programme on Energy and Economic Growth (£15m) and the Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER) in Nigeria (£18m). He has over 35 years’ experience working in international development across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America, including ten years as the CEO of the NGO Practical Action. He has extensive experience of working on a range of large and small-scale energy.

Ash Sharma, Head of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, Nefco
Ash Sharma is currently Senior Director at the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation and the fund manager of the BGFA. He is a climate, environmental finance, policy and investment specialist with over 30 years of experience in over 60 countries, with a current focus on Africa. During 2016-2018, he was seconded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida) as Senior Adviser to the NAMA Facility in Berlin. Sharma has served on various international climate change steering and working groups for Nordic Council of Ministers, UNEP, World Bank, G8 and G20 and has been an adviser to the European Commission, Innovate UK and the Climate Policy Initiative.

Event partners

Logo Danida MFA