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Q&A with Michael Goldman, author of case study: Kuyasa (South Africa)

Michael Goldman is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg, South Africa. He lectures, researches and consults in the area of Marketing, including topics such as Marketing Strategy & Management, Base of the Pyramid business strategies, Customer Centricity and Strategy, and Sports Marketing and Sponsorship. He is an active member of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded BoP South African Learning Lab. Michael studied for his B.PrimEd degree from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth before completing the Programme for Management Development and his MBA from GIBS. He is currently completing a doctorate through GIBS in the area of marketing.

To download the Kuyasa case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is Kuyasa’s basic value proposition and what makes its financial model sustainable?

What I found most interesting about the Kuyasa case were their efforts to create a sustainable funding model for energy efficiency within one of the poorest urban areas in Africa.  Their “business-like” approach to implementing a project that was languishing without strong management, is a lesson for similar initiatives.  Their understanding of the carbon credit funding environment and application of strong financial engineering skills may give Kuyasa an edge in being able to make this happen on a larger scale.

What have been the biggest challenges hindering the implementation of Kuyasa?

The initial hurdles, before the current team took on the challenge, related to the lack of a suitable implementation partner that was able to finance the implementation within the limited resources available.  The more recent challenges relate to the delays in sourcing suitable solar-water geysers, of an appropriate quality standard and at the budgeted amount.

What are the main opportunities for CDM projects benefiting the poor in a country like South Africa?

South Africa faces the related challenges of rapid urbanisation, lack of adequate low-cost housing, and increasing energy costs.  CDM projects, that are able to be implemented and funded on a large scale (millions as opposed to thousands) within the coming few years, have the potential to have both an immediate positive impact on the energy costs of poorer residents of urban townships, as well a longer term positive impact on the health of the population and the reduction of emissions.

What is the promise of using renewable energy for human development?

This case provides strong evidence for the tangible immediate and longer term benefits of government policy choices that unequivocally favour renewable energy.  It promises more affordable, cleaner, and healthier energy that can also contribute to the dignity, pride and economic empowerment of poorer urban residents.

What has been your personal experience going through the GIM training and case research process?

It has been a significant learning experience working with the GIM team and engaging with different Kuyasa & Tedcor stakeholders to prepare and write these case study reports.  I am very appreciative of the openness and cooperation received from the teams at Kuyasa & Tedcor, and applaud their efforts to make a real difference to their communities and the greater sustainability priorities.