Dr. Yillia was presented the award in Cape Town, South Africa at a ceremony held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the 16th of May 2018 during the 18th edition of the African Utility Week. African Utility Week is the leading annual conference and trade exhibition for African power, energy and water professionals. The event brings together over 7000 decision makers to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers. African Utility Week provides the largest gathering of energy and water professionals focused on all aspects of the provision of energy and water services to the African market.
He is one of five recipients of the award established since 2014 to celebrate the accomplishments of an individual in a senior position from a utility, public or private company who has displayed passion and commitment to the water industry while also demonstrating leadership, vision and success. He was recognized specifically for his outstanding analytical work on water resources assessment and planning and his role in supporting institutions in operationalizing cross sector interactions between water, energy, and other global development themes. From 2014 to 2017, he was recruited by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) as Lead Policy Specialist to support the overall operational process of SEforALL. Specifically, he was the focal point and adviser to the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG) & CEO for SEforALL and the senior management team on the links between energy and water. During this time, he served as Programme Manager for the Water-Energy Nexus Programme and led the work on cross-cutting issues to mainstream the Water-Energy Nexus into the SEforALL Global Action Agenda and relevant partner activities.
Dr. Yillia has completed his PhD in 2008 at the Vienna University of Technology under the North-South-Dialogue Scholarship programme, financed by the Austria Development Cooperation. He is currently a Guest Research Scholar with the Water Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and a visiting scholar at Vienna University of Technology, where he previously held substantive positions before joining UNOPS/SEforALL. He has published extensively on many water-related themes, with more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals of high academic standing, 1 book and 10 book chapters, more than 20 publications in conference proceedings, and contributed to over 30 technical reports, policy briefs and articles specifically on water resources assessment and planning. In addition, he has made several presentations at international events and acclaimed interviews on key development themes, including a recent African Utility Week Expert Interview on global water security and the water crisis in Cape Town.