Release Date: 19 November, 2020

The African Energy Leadership Centre at WBS in 2021 and beyond

“There are 600 million people and many businesses in Africa without access to modern energy. And yet Africa has bountiful resources of wind, oil, solar, coal, gas, hydro etc. How can we connect these two? With energy leaders.”

Rod Crompton, Adjunct Professor & Centre Director
WBS African Energy Leadership Centre

Despite only being launched in June 2017, with funding from a Strategic Grant application by CHIETA[1], the African Energy Leadership Centre is experiencing rapid uptake of its new Postgraduate Diploma and Masters of Management programmes by energy professionals across the public and private sector.

The Centre was conceptualised by industry visionaries who saw the need to respond to the shortage of skills in a sector undergoing rapid disruption. While it is known that Africa has vast, untapped energy potential, and some of the fastest economic growth rates in the world, its further development is constrained by a lack of energy supply, with brown-outs and black-outs regularly strangling productivity in even its most developed economies. Approximately 600 million Africans lack access to modern energy carriers.

The Centre provides world-class executive education, post-graduate study, research, knowledge, innovation and networking opportunities for industry practitioners across the energy sector ecosystem and its associated value chains.

New learning pathways
The first years of the Centre’s work has resulted in new learning pathways to fast-track emerging leaders into executive career pathways in the sector. This required the development of new postgraduate degrees in 2018. Research was conducted and stakeholders consulted about the ideal content for such degrees. What emerged was:


  1. A Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in the field of Energy Leadership – a one year taught degree at honours level (NQF 8);
  2. A Master of Management (MM) in the field of Energy Leadership – a two year degree with one year of taught courses (50%) and a research project (50%) at NQF level 9.


In 2019 the first cohort of learners entered these programmes with a much larger than expected interest reflected in 30 PGDip students and 40 MM students. In 2020, there are similar cohort sizes and a part-time weekend- based PGDip cohort was added for one of the oil majors that required more flexible scheduling. Bursary support funded by the CHIETA enabled financially disadvantaged students to access the programmes. Several PhD graduates have enrolled on these courses to apply an industry application lens to their skills stack. 2020 also celebrates the first cohort of PGDip graduates.

Practitioners interested in enrolling for the 2021 intake can access the programme details and entry criteria at the Wits Business School website, with links at the end of this press release. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2020.

Research partnerships and collaborations
The AELC has enjoyed partnership and collaborations with the following organisations. Some of these relationships have been funding or contract research that have supplemented the AELC income in line with the Centre’s mandate to be self-sustaining.

  • Automobile Association
  • Department of Economic Development
  • Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) - German Energy Agency
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
  • Engineering News
  • Fieldstone Africa
  • FTI Consulting
  • Namibian Electricity Regulator
  • National Treasury,
  • Oxford University Press
  • Sasol and other industry stakeholders,
  • Shell South Africa
  • South African Nuclear Energy Corporation SOC Limited
  • United Nations University

Responding to the Covid Pandemic
The sudden advent of this new pandemic forced universities around the country to close. The AELC rapidly switched teaching from classroom-based lectures to online or distance learning. There was a steep learning curve for staff and students with some glitches along the way but overall we have managed to weather the transition successfully. Courses have continued to be delivered and the students can now benefit from the Centre’s programmes from remote locations.

New Centre director
Dr Lwazi Ngubevana joined the centre as the incoming Director and will take over from Professor Rod Crompton on 1st March 2021. Dr Ngubevana commenced his undergraduate studies in the field of Engineering and added both an MBA and a PhD in Chemical Engineering, all at Wits University.  He has worked as an Energy sector business professional for fifteen years and also has experience in policy and legislation. He currently serves on a number of expert panels providing strategic and technical guidance to various Ministries and government entities.

Dr Ngubevana brings to the Centre a wealth of local and international experience, having worked on large projects in China, Australia, USA and the Middle East. While working as an Energy sector professional, he has published research in international journals and has supervised a number of WBS masters students over the years. Prof Crompton will continue to provide support to the AELC for a further two years to assist in the leadership transition.

How can you get involved?
If you are interested in sponsoring the Centre, please contact Lebogang Ngwatle at the Wits Development & Fundraising Office for a range of options.

To register for programmes please visit . For programme information or custom courses please contact Prof Crompton. For more information on the Wits Business School please contact Jane Balnaves.

For information on the Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority, please contact Gift Mothopeng.


 [1] Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority

Contact Details

Lebogang Ngwatle
Development Specialist
Development & Fundraising Office


Professor Rod Crompton
Adjunct Professor & Centre Director
WBS African Energy Leadership Centre


Jane Balnaves
Wits Business School Communications


Gift Mothopeng
Research and Skills Planning Specialist

011 628 7000

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