College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Unpacking the impact of Africa's energy crisis

Prof Adedayo Ademola Yusuff

Prof Adedayo Ademola Yusuff, of the Department of Electrical Engineering in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, gave his inaugural lecture on 24 June 2021. The topic of his lecture was "Access to electricity – a necessity for socioeconomic development".

Against the backdrop of the challenges posed by the inadequate supply of electricity across the continent, and with load shedding affecting not only South Africa but also many other parts of Africa, Yusuff engaged the audience on the impact of Africa’s energy hurdles on the socioeconomic status of Africans.

A change of focus essential

Yusuff went on to discuss how most of the generation capacity in Africa is used for the extraction of minerals, instead of adding value to these minerals. "It is only when Africa focuses on adding value to its raw materials that jobs can be created, and this can only happen when a substantial number of people have access to electricity," he said. "The grid capacity of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa is a big constraint on industrial production. The unfortunate part is that Africa is full of renewable energy sources that are not being tapped into. The generation capacity deficit can be addressed if we begin to tap into these renewable energy sources. An example is the potential of generating electricity from hydropower in Africa: the combined capacity of the Niger, Nile, Zambezi and Congo river basins adds up to more energy than Africa consumed in 2018 and 2019."

Emeritus Professor Yskandar Hamam, who is based in France, was a respondent to Yusuff’s lecture. He told the audience that Yusuff has been a studious and highly innovative researcher ever since he was a doctoral student at the Tshwane University of Technology. "Utility networks are not only limited to electrical power systems, but the knowledge base can be further expanded to water distribution systems," said Hamam as he urged Yusuff to consider this route going forward. 

Towards relevant research

Yusuff is involved in engaged scholarship activities within his college, providing researchers with opportunities to reflect on how to use their research findings to address societal challenges. "Engagements of this nature," he said, "can open up additional research opportunities and also provide a platform for departments in the field of engineering and technology to expose communities to relevant knowledge and technologies."

Yusuff has supervised 13 master’s and doctoral students to completion. "I am glad that most of them can stand on their own to conduct research, but will only be fully happy when at least one of them becomes a professor," he said. Yusuff has published over 70 journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters, which have been cited numerous times.

Yusuff is currently focusing on developing the human capacity needed in the area of artificial intelligence, and also conducts research into the adaptability and resilience of electric power systems. "The legacy that I want to leave behind includes respect for diversity in Homo sapiens," he concluded. "I am also a firm believer in the notion that an impossibility is nothing but a state of mind."

* Compiled by Dr Nozipho N Gumbi, Acting Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Publish date: 2021/06/25