Mauritius: A one-day forum on ‘Women in Green Technologies: Empowering Women to Lead Sustainability Initiatives’ opened this morning at the United Docks Business Park in Port Louis.
The Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Georges Pierre Lesjongard, the Ambassador of the United States to Mauritius, Henry Jardine, and other personalities were present.
This initiative is a collaboration of the United States (U.S.) Embassy in Mauritius and the American Chamber of Commerce. The forum is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Economic Bureau under its “Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER)” programme.
The Regional Manager from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Sarah Whitten, was the keynote speaker at the event. Specialising in project financing, she outlined the various sources of financing available for developing sustainable development projects in Mauritius across the African continent and the case for promoting diversity in the business sector.
Panellists at the forum included representatives from the Economic Development Board, the Mauritius Institute of Directors, Business Mauritius, the Mauritius Commercial Bank, Mindex Group and Lineage Invest.
In his address, Minister Lesjongard highlighted the crucial role played by women in fostering community resilience and responding to climate-related disasters as well as their influence on policies and institutions to enhance the accessibility of public goods, including energy, water, sanitation, and social infrastructure as economic and political actors.
Lesjongard likewise remarked that Government had placed women’s empowerment at the centre of its development agenda by adopting a National Gender Policy 2022-2030, which provides a framework for collective action by public and private-sector stakeholders.
Women, he underlined, have been instrumental in driving the sustainability movement forward, from advocating for climate justice to developing innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Yet, he remarked, fewer women worldwide access information and communication technology as a direct result of their unfavourable conditions with respect to employment, education, and income.
The Minister observed that, nevertheless, various remedial schemes and policies have been established by his Ministry in collaboration with international organisations.
These include: tapping on Government’s full potential, including gender mainstreaming measures in green jobs; more than 1,500 women at the community level have benefited from tailored awareness sessions by the Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency (MARENA) in collaboration with the Central Electricity Board and the National Women Council; some 60 women have successfully completed training in Entrepreneurship and Basics Of Photo-Voltaic and Skills Development for Solar PV Value Chain and; the MARENA has sponsored 17 women in studies in renewable energy, and they have all secured a job in the sector and are actively contributing in the advancement thereof.
Regarding the energy sector, Minister Lesjongard recalled that the Government had set clear objectives for the sector to establish the green energy industry as an economic pillar of activity.
“We have pledged to shift to a low carbon economy with the aim, amongst others, to help Mauritius achieve the 60% renewable energy target, phase out coal by 2030, and increase 10% energy efficiency by 2030,” he added.
To achieve this and to successfully meet the national and global clean energy targets while effectively addressing climate change challenges, we must adopt an integrated and inclusive approach, ensuring that everyone, including women, feels deeply involved and connected to the transition towards renewable energy.
For his part, Ambassador Jardine highlighted that the theme of today’s event touches upon two core components of U.S. foreign policy, namely: advancing women’s economic security and mitigating the impact of climate change. On this note, he indicated that in January of this year, the U.S. Government launched the first-ever interagency U.S.
Security to create a world in which every person has equitable opportunities for job placement, advancement, quality of life, and leadership.
Furthermore, the U.S. Ambassador observed that green technology is among the sectors where women are underrepresented and, in this context, Mauritius and the U.S. are both committed to combating the climate change crisis and accelerating the clean energy transition through the involvement of women.
“The U.S. Embassy looks forward to our ongoing cooperation with the Government of Mauritius and the Mauritian private sector to further strengthen this collaboration in the field of green technologies and energy efficiency but also in other key sectors where partnerships and business opportunities with U.S. firms can be established,” Jardine added.