EEP Africa Approves 26 New Projects in Productive Use and Circular Economy

EUR 8.3 million allocated to clean energy companies with strong representation from local and women entrepreneurs. 


The EEP Africa Innovation Window Investment Committee met virtually on 23 September to approve funding for projects submitted under the 2020 call for proposals on Clean Energy Powering Green Growth. This competitive call attracted 357 applications for projects in 14 countries in Southern and East Africa, with EUR 123 million in total financing requested. The new portfolio of 26 projects is projected to create 2,000 jobs and leverage additional clean energy investments of EUR 8.9 million in co-financing.

The Investment Committee was chaired by Mr. Aleksi Lumijärvi, Program Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), and included Ms. Anu Hassinen, Senior Energy Advisor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Mr. Oliver Walter, Advisor on Energy at the Austrian Development Agency.

“In this year’s portfolio we saw innovative business models for well-defined target markets in the fields of circular economy and productive use of energy,” said NDF Program Manager and Investment Committee Chair, Aleksi Lumijärvi. “These are segments in which the business models need to be carefully tailored and efficient in order to be competitive. We are happy to see that many of the approved solutions are coming from local and women-led companies.”

The projects approved for financing encompass an exciting and diverse range of agricultural processing and waste-to-energy technologies, solar irrigation and cooling solutions, energy for water and fisheries, e-mobility and other innovations. Most of the projects are in pilot or demonstration stage, highlighting EEP Africa’s role as an early-stage financier willing to take risks on new technologies and business models.

“I am delighted to see more and more creative instruments being initiated. EEP Africa, among others, is filling the gap for financing of high-risk transactions, and significantly contributing to SDG 7,” said Advisor on Energy at the Austrian Development Agency, Oliver Walter. “I am particularly happy to notice the link between productive use and food security, a key topic of Austrian Development Cooperation.”

The theme of the call stemmed from a market trend towards productive use of energy (PUE) as a means to enhance the financial viability and development impact of clean energy projects. This trend was analysed in-depth in the 2019 EEP Africa study Powering Productivity. EEP Africa and its donors also strongly support circular economy solutions at all stages of value chains to ensure sustainable and climate resilient growth.

“A just transition to circular economy is one of Finland’s key priorities in helping our partner countries to build back better and greener,” said Senior Energy Adviser at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Anu Hassinen. “I was very pleased to see the wide variety of innovative circular economy business models that transform traditional business models into service-based energy and resource-efficient solutions to meet the customer needs and to create jobs, skills and income along the whole value chain.”

Further insights from this call on clean energy market trends will be shared in EEP Africa’s upcoming Market Report 2020, to be published soon. Detailed information about the specific projects funded through this call will be shared in 2021 when contracting is completed.

EEP Africa is a clean energy financing facility hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with funding from Austria, Finland and NDF. It provides early-stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models in 15 countries across Southern and East Africa.