Good COP, bad COP?

This years COP was labelled 'Africa's COP' and throughout our conversation we will explore: what does that mean for Africa? How is climate change affecting countries across Africa and how can solar energy offer a lifeline to the most vulnerable communities?

Climate change is exacerbating across the world, making extreme weather events much more frequent, making the most vulnerable even more vulnerable and making citizens everywhere increasingly anxious about what the future has in store. As the world's leaders, NGOs, industry and climate activists gathered in Egypt, the eyes of the world were watching to see if there could be a significant breakthrough, big enough to make a difference for our people and planet.


In this episode, Brussels-based climate journalist Anna Gumbau is joined by our Director of Global Affairs, Máté Heisz, and guest speaker Olasimbo Sojinrin, COO of Solar Sister, to reflect on the most recent UN Climate Change Conference.


While there were successes to come out of COP27, there were also, unsurprisingly, many downfalls. We will discuss all of this, plus the role renewable energy, in particular solar, can play in building our climate-proof future.

Solar Sister drives impact by investing in women’s clean energy businesses in off-grid communities in Africa. Solar Sister eradicates extreme energy poverty by empowering African women with economic opportunity and providing essential services and training that enable women entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses. Solar Sister is a climate solution that also improves human well-being, boosts equity, and helps usher in prosperity for people in sub-Saharan Africa who are least responsible for the climate crisis. To date, over 8,100 Solar Sister Entrepreneurs have reached over three and one-half million people with clean energy access. Products sold by Solar Sister Entrepreneurs have eliminated over one million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.


© Solar Sister
Ibadan, Nigeria. Iyanda Mujeedat Olaitan with a potential customer, Mrs. Toyin Amada, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Olasimbo Sojinrin, COO of Solar Sister

Olasimbo Sojinrin is Solar Sister's Chief Operating Officer (COO)and is one of Nigeria’s leading clean energy advocates and a role model for women’s leadership in the energy sector.


Simbo has been a lifelong advocate for young people and women. She has worked as a Director at the Women’s consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) and manager at British Council, leading multiple youth climate change projects, including Connecting Classrooms and Green Clubs. As manager of the UNDP / Bank of Industry Access to Renewable Energy project, she trained policymakers and lead advocacy for a renewable energy policy at Nigeria’s federal and state levels.


Ms. Sojinrin is on the Executive Board of the Women’s Consortium of Nigeria. She is the winner of the 2017 Ruhr Summit, 2016 Woman in Energy awardee by Nigerian Energy Forum, and 2015 Emerging Leader at TechWomen. She is an adviser to the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria. She holds a degree in Urban and Regional Planning and Masters in Public and International Affairs from the University of Lagos.

As Director of Global Affairs, Máté leads the International Cooperation team to ensure the association’s presence and impact on the global stage. He represents SolarPower Europe in global fora such as the Global Solar Council and the IRENA Coalition for Action, and also oversees the association’s funded projects. Before joining SolarPower Europe, Máté worked as a Renewable Energy Advisor at German Development Cooperation GIZ in Tunisia. 

Máté Heisz, Director of Global Affairs at SolarPower Europe
Anna Gumbau, freelance climate journalist and ShineOn podcast host

Anna Gumbau is a freelance energy and climate journalist based in Brussels. She has written on energy and sustainability topics for several national, international and specialised media, such as Euractiv, Deutsche Welle, El País, Energy Monitor and FORESIGHT Climate & Energy. She is also a podcast producer for FORESIGHT, and a mentor for young climate journalists with the Earth Journalism Network. Prior to going freelance, she was Carbon Pulse’s Brussels correspondent covering the European Green Deal and the EU Emissions Trading System, and an energy reporter with Interfax Global Energy Services in London. 

Header photo: © UNFCCC COP27
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