Fuel Freedom Chair for Energy and Social Development

Holder: Ahmad Rahnema

We are facing an extreme energy shortage globally. Access to affordable fuels would create significant and positive change in developing nations.

IESE has teamed up with the Fuel Freedom Foundation to mitigate energy poverty by creating the Fuel Freedom Chair for Energy and Social Development to address this problem through research, energy education and knowledge transfer.

The Fuel Freedom Chair leads research projects in selected countries in partnership with local associated business schools in order to deliver a program – adapted to each country’s reality – that focuses on understanding the key challenges, mapping potential solutions and encouraging their adoption.

Research lines

  • Electricity: Two-thirds of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa still lives without access to electricity, especially in rural areas, where most electricity comes from small diesel generators. They can be converted to run on cheaper, cleaner and locally produced methanol and other fuels. Furthermore, new business models can harness solar photovoltaic and off-grid technologies to connect remote localities.
  • Transportation: Transportation (oil-based) fuel costs are significantly higher in Africa and other developing nations than in the developed world. Africans could convert cars already on the road to run on locally produced replacement fuels such as ethanol, methanol and butanol, which burn cleaner than gasoline.
  • Fertilizer production: Alternatives to the lack of affordable fertilizers can be developed through local fertilizer facilities using residual natural gas and by improving the access to credit for small farmers.
  • Cooking fuels: Approximately 3 billion people around the world cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves, leading to premature deaths and pollution. Solutions include domestically produced ethanol or LPG to fuel cookstoves instead of using.
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  • Conference “Ghana´s Energy and Fertilizer Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities”. Sept 04-06, 2019. Akosombo, Ghana. In partnership with China-Europe Business School (CEIBS).
  • Seminar “Le paysage énergétique de la Côte d’Ivoire: défis et opportunités d’investissement.” May 22-23, 2018, Abidjan, Côte D´Ivoire. In partnership with MDE Business Schoool and with the support of the Ministre du Pétrole, de l’Energie et du Développement des Energies Renouvelables.
  • Seminar “Kenya’s Energy Landscape: Challenges and Investment Opportunities” March 5-8, 2017 Naivasha, Kenya. In partnership with Strathmore University.

Holder of the Chair

Ahmad Rahnema is a professor and director of IESE’s Financial Management Department, and deputy associate dean for faculty. He holds a doctorate in Business Management from IESE, is president of the Spanish Financial Forum of London and a member of the editorial board of the journal Harvard Deusto Business Review. His principal areas of research are international finance, risk management and means of payment. He has worked on a variety of consulting projects for diverse international companies.