EEP Africa Kick-starts African Utility Week with its Investor Forum

13 May 2019, Cape Town, South Africa

EEP Africa organised a successful matchmaking session for investors and renewable energy companies in Cape Town on Monday. Held one day before the start of Africa Utility Week (AUW), this event brought together local, regional and global investors and EEP Africa-supported companies to spur follow-on investments in the clean energy sector. Investors representing venture capital, impact finance, private equity, DFIs and financial institutions participated in an afternoon of project pitches, matchmaking and deal flow identification.

 “With this latest Investor Forum, EEP Africa is once again demonstrating its vital matchmaking role in early stage clean energy financing,” proclaimed Leena Klossner, Vice President and Acting Managing Director of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), in her welcoming address. “EEP Africa is a key piece in NDF’s green growth financing portfolio and strongly demonstrates our readiness to take early stage risk in the clean energy sector in Africa. We are so pleased to see such strong participation from companies and investor partners who share these goals.”

Strong cooperation and partnerships are critical for the clean energy sector to contribute to sustainable green growth and accelerated climate action. Farai Kanonda, Regional Operations Manager for Energy and Infrastructure at the African Development Bank (AfDB) delivered a keynote address to kick off the event, calling for renewed partnerships among the participants in the room and highlighting key AfDB initiatives in the clean energy space including the newly launched Financing Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Fund.

The Investor Forum is an EEP Africa flagship event that brings value to both investors and project developers. Investors looking to identify deal flow opportunities gain access to a pre-screened pipeline of clean energy projects from the broad EEP Africa portfolio. Project developers with proven business models and projects poised for scale-up get the opportunity to start a conversation with potential investors. The Cape Town Investor Forum brought together 40 investors and project developers to unlock additional investments in the renewable energy sector in Africa.

EEP Africa Presents its New Project Portfolio

A diverse portfolio of 28 new projects are being funded by EEP Africa in 2019.

EEP Africa received a total of 530 applications in its 14th Call for Proposals. The proposed projects covered a variety of renewable energy technologies and business models across Southern and East Africa. At the end of the highly competitive evaluation process, 28 early stage clean energy projects were selected for funding and began implementation in early 2019.

EEP Africa’s diverse new portfolio is presented in a booklet that introduces the projects and their respective project developers. The portfolio includes projects in 13 countries that are piloting and disseminating the latest technologies in biogas, cookstoves, hydropower, solar PV, solid biomass, waste-to-energy and wind power. The projects range from feasibility studies to scale-ups of successful models, from individual home systems to power plants that feed into the national grid.

These projects are the first to be funded under EEP Africa’s new trust fund structure, which aims to contribute more directly to achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All the projects will be monitored and evaluated based on six key impact indicators: Savings on energy-related expenditure (SDG 1); Women in leadership (SDG 5); People with enhanced energy access (SDG 7); Direct job creation (SDG 8); Mobilised climate finance and CO2e emissions reduced or avoided (SDG 13).

EEP Africa is proud to support the innovative projects in its new portfolio and will work closely with the project developers over the coming months and years to facilitate sustainable and inclusive business growth, with a focus on benefitting poor, vulnerable and underserved groups.

Download the EEP Africa Project Portfolio 2019 booklet here.

Since 2010, EEP Africa has channeled more than EUR 70 million to 250 pioneering projects. These projects have created over 10,000 jobs, improved clean energy access for over 5 million people, and reduced or avoided 1.6 million tonnes of CO2e. EEP Africa is hosted by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with funding provided by Austria, Finland and NDF.

Knowledge Exchange Forum in Johannesburg

EEP Africa hosted its 8th Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) on 28 March in Johannesburg, South Africa. The theme for this KEF was Productive Use and Drivers for Renewable Energy Uptake in the SADC Region.

EEP Africa promotes knowledge sharing through semi-annual Knowledge Exchange Forums. The event targets EEP Africa-supported project developers and other stakeholders in the sector. The main aim is encouraging practitioners in the sector to share experiences, brainstorm solutions, and build their networks. Close to 100 participants engaged in the Johannesburg KEF, making it a dynamic and productive day.

The full-day programme included speakers, panels, and roundtable discussions. The event was opened by Dr Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), who was speakingon behalf of the South African Department of Energy. The strategic vision of EEP Africa was outlined by Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), which contributes to and hosts the trust fund. The keynote address was given by Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator of Power Africa, who reflected on developments in the sector and challenges going forward.

“EEP Africa has had a large impact in South Africa in terms of access to energy, waste management, job creation and SMME development. They have stepped in to the gap of financing small-scale independent power producers in this country.” -Dr. Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of SANEDI

Key Finding from the SADC Status Report on Renewable Energy were presented by Karin Reiss of SACREEEE. This was followed by a panel of EEP Africa National Focal Points from the region, who provided perspectives on how their own countries are supporting the promotion of private sector engagement in the energy sector and the policies that are being put in place to drive renewable energy uptake, both for electricity and clean cooking.

“The Nordic Development Fund is financing sustainable and low carbon economies. EEP Africa is a key programme for us to support innovative entrepreneurs on the ground that are driving the development of local green and inclusive economies.” -Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager at NDF

Each KEF includes “Communities of Knowledge” roundtables, which are a valuable opportunity for participants to share their own successes and challenges. Participants determine the direction of the discussions and tap into the expertise around the table to address barriers that they are facing.

The discussions on promoting the productive use of energy highlighted the role of the energy service provider in identifying the potential for productive use, offering energy efficient appliances for existing productive activities, and developing partnerships to facilitate end users in accessing markets to sell their products. However, the extent to which companies need to engage in building these value chains was debated.

EEP Africa looks forward to hosting the next KEF in the second half of 2019.

Welcome to the Next Knowledge Exchange Forum!

EEP Africa will host its 8th Knowledge Exchange Forum on Thursday, March 28, at the Sandton Hilton in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The EEP Africa Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) is a dynamic event for project developers and other key players in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector to discuss key topics in the field, share experiences, and build new business relationships.

The theme for KEF Johannesburg is Productive Use & Drivers for Renewable Energy Uptake in the SADC Region.

The full-day programme will include speakers, panel discussions, and roundtable discussions. The KEF roundtables, called “Communities of Knowledge”, are a valuable opportunity for participants to share their own successes and challenges. There is also ample time for networking at an evening reception following the main programme.

The current EEP Africa Call for Proposals (CfP15) will close on 2 April 2019. KEF Johannesburg offers potential applicants a final opportunity to meet our team and ask questions about the gender-themed CfP15.

To encourage broad participation, EEP Africa is organizing this KEF the day after the Power & Electricity World Africa conference and exhibition.

Registration
The KEF is open to all and free of charge, but advance registration is required. The final agenda will be shared with the registered participants closer to the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Johannesburg!

Join us for CfP15 Q&A Sessions

The EEP Coordination Office is organizing two opportunities for potential applicants to meet our team and ask questions about EEP Africa and the gender-themed call (CfP15) that is currently open.

On 5 March you can meet us face-to-face in Nairobi

On 12 March you can join us online for a Webinar

Before joining either event, please make sure to carefully read the Application Guidelines as answers to many of your questions may be found there. You can also submit questions to cfp@eepafrica.org. All email requests for clarifications must be submitted by 6 March 2019.

Nairobi Q&A on EEP Africa CfP15

5 March 2019 at 8:30-11:30 KPMG Kenya (12th Floor, ABC Place, Waiyaki Way, Nairobi)

  • 8:30 Registration and refreshments
  • 9:00 Welcome remarks
  • 9:15 Introduction to EEP Africa and overview of CfP 15
  • 9:45 Questions & Answers from participants
  • 11:30 End of session

Webinar Q&A on EEP Africa CfP15

12 March 2019 at 14:00-15:00 Helsinki time (GMT+3)

  • 14:00 Introduction to EEP Africa and overview of CfP15
  • 14:10 Key questions from Nairobi Q&A session
  • 14:20 Questions & Answers from participants
  • 15:00 End of session

And make sure to submit your CfP15 application for funding before the deadline of 2 April 2019 at 13:00 Helsinki time (GMT+3). Only applications submitted via the online form will be accepted.

EEP Africa to Open a Gender-themed Call for Proposals!

Save the Date! EEP Africa is excited to open a new gender-themed Call for Proposals on 20 February 2019. The deadline for submitting applications is 2 April 2019 at 13:00 Helsinki time (GMT+3).

See the details below or download as a pdf . Check back here for the full guidelines once the call is open.

This call is focused on promoting leadership and economic opportunities for women across the clean energy sector. We are seeking applications that propose innovative approaches to gender inclusion while also supporting core business objectives and growth. Projects will be evaluated based on concept innovation, development impact, business model and financial sustainability. Applications from women entrepreneurs and women-led organisations are strongly encouraged.

Applicants can apply for early-stage grants and repayable grants between EUR 200,000 – 500,000. The minimum required co-financing is 30% of the total project budget. All applications need to demonstrate clear additionality of EEP funding.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: 

Companies (including start-ups), Non-profit Organisations and Social Enterprises

PROJECT SECTORS:

Biofuels Liquid, Biogas, Cookstoves, Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Hydropower, Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Solid Biomass, Waste to Energy, Wind power, other RE/EE technology or combination of technologies (including productive use of energy)

PROJECT TYPES:

Feasibility Studies or Pilot, Demonstration, Replication, or Scale-up Projects

ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES:

Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe (include map) 

Questions about this call? Contact us at cfp@eepafrica.org 

EEP and AECF bring together investors and renewable energy businesses

PRESS RELEASE 

11th December 2018, Nairobi, Kenya – The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) and the Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) are hosting an investor forum that brings together financiers and companies from across the world to find investment opportunities in renewable energy businesses operating in Africa. The forum is an investor to business (I2B) match-making platform that assists small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) broker deals that will expand and grow their businesses and contribute to the transformational agenda in Africa.

World’s economy is driven by SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups. Most financiers and donors recognise the importance of the early-stage investment market in the creation of new jobs especially for women and youth and the development of the private sector in the clean energy sector in sub Saharan Africa“ Christian Fellner, Ambassador of Austria.

The private sector is the key engine for job creation accounting for 90% of all jobs in the developing world with SMEs accounting for the majority of these jobs. Despite the important role they play, SMEs cite access to affordable financing as a major hindrance in their operations and growth.

“Financing energy programmes is limited by domestic constraints and more comprehensively by context challenges that hinder an enabling private sector investment. Currently, energy access financing is beginning to penetrate the hard to reach markets – in rural, transitioning and fragile markets. Businesses working in such markets need to mobilise additional financing to sustain growth. Development capital blended with commercial funding can therefore provide the total financing needed by the projects to create transformative impact,” Paula Kermfors, Senior Programme Manager, Embassy of Sweden.

“From our experience the main gap in accessing finance for most SMEs is mainly due to the limited scope of financial products available that are suitable for businesses targeting the rural communities in Africa. This has meant that at their growth stage most businesses struggle to get financing for their businesses,” Daniel Ohonde, CEO, The AECF.

At the same time, investors have indicated difficulties in finding businesses that they can invest in.

“There is limited information available on the renewable energy sector at the country level and existing pipeline ready for investment. Platforms like our Investor Forum are needed to provide investors the opportunity to meet potential businesses face-to-face, make real connections to companies and the people driving the businesses and assess prospective returns for renewable energy projects across the African continent,” Lauri Tuomaala, EEP Head of Portfolio and Finance.

The Investor Forum is a one-day workshop that brings together over 40 investors and project developers from across the world to unlock additional investments in the renewable energy sector. The investors are provided access to a selected and pre-screened pipeline of clean energy businesses that have been funded by the AECF and EEP. The businesses present at the forum were selected based on technology and readiness for follow-on investment.

About Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP) Trust Fund
EEP Africa is a multi-donor trust fund providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models. Since 2010 EEP has channelled more than EUR 57 million to 200+ projects with positive impacts on lives and livelihoods in 15 countries in Southern and East Africa. EEP is hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). Funding partners for EEP are Austria, Finland and NDF. Implementation support is provided by KPMG.

For more information:
Lauri Tuomaala
Email: info@eepafrica.org

About The AECF
AECF is an Africa-based USD $356 million Enterprise Challenge Fund that works with the private sector on a risk sharing basis across 26 African countries to reduce poverty. It provides catalytic funding as grants or zero interest loans to private sector businesses that have a positive impact on the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. The fund awards grants and/or loans to businesses focused on agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy and adaptation to climate change with the aim of improving household incomes and reducing rural poverty. The fund is supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom governments, international financial institutions, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and IFAD.

For more information:
Linda Odhiambo
Email: lodhiambo@aecfafrica.org

Awarding of EEP PoY 2018 closed the busy Rwanda Energy Week

The latest EEP Africa Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) capped off the Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth – Rwanda Energy Week in Kigali. The event attracted over 120 specialists with lively discussions on mini-grids, private sector experiences and financing. Participants included project developers, equity and impact investors, researchers, and representatives of renewable energy associations, development banks, multilateral and bilateral organisations, and government institutions.

EEP Africa KEF’s are designed to enable experiences and learning to be shared across projects and to facilitate networking among EEP project developers and other players in the renewable energy sector. The KEF Kigali on 9 November 2018 was one of several special events held during Rwanda Energy Week, which was hosted by the Energy Private Developers (EPD). EEP Africa collaborates with local industry associations to increase its impact and was pleased to hold its KEF alongside events by EPD, GOGLA and the Clean Cooking Alliance.  

The opening speakers emphasized current opportunities in the sector. Tom Rwahama, Energy Sector Secretariat Coordinator from the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure highlighted energy access as one of the government’s key priorities for economic growth. He shared Rwanda’s ambitious energy sector targets: by 2024, the government aims to provide universal energy access, with 48% of energy connections coming from off grid systems. Ivan Twagirashema the EPD chairman, highlighted the role of the private sector in fulfilling government targets by fostering investments that accelerate rapid electrification. Charles Wetherill, Program Manager of the EEP Africa Trust Fund at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), emphasized the EEP portfolio’s value as a pipeline for downstream investors and a source of knowledge and learning on the broader policy and market environment.

The keynote speech was given by Chaim Motzen, founder of Izuba and co-founder/former managing director of Gigawatt Global, who shared his experience and lessons learned from the first IPP project in Rwanda, an 8.5 MW solar plant. He outlined key learning points in developing a project of this scale, such as working with a strong local partner and the need for government support.

The main panel at KEF Kigali focused on Mini-Grids and included findings and insights from the recent EEP Africa in-depth study on mini-grids. A second panel on Attracting Financiers for Renewable Energy Projects included both project developers and different types of investors. Project preparedness and risk versus innovation were cited as some of the key factors in determining investment potential. Attendees were also able to discuss key issues more informally during Communities of Knowledge roundtables on: the role of industry associations; standardised KPIs; productive uses in mini-grids; women in value chains; and regional replication/local ownership.

 

Finally, the EEP Project of the Year 2018 was awarded during the KEF. This annual award highlights one EEP project for its outstanding innovation and success, offering public recognition that can attract investors and help advance the business to the next level of growth and sustainability. Shortlisted applicants, Meshpower (mini-grid developer in Rwanda) and Vitalite (SHS company from Zambia), presented their projects during the KEF and a panel of experts chose the winner based on the merits of the project. Lauri Tuomaala of EEP Africa announced Vitalite as the EEP Project of the Year 2018   for pioneering PAYG solar in Zambia. Wim Jonker Klunne of EEP Africa and Kelly Easton Programme Director for Africa Utility Week (AUW) jointly presented the award to Mike Matokwani, Finance Director of Vitalite. By combining quality products with an innovative approach to staff development and community engagement, Vitalite has experienced impressive growth in recent years. As part of the award, a representative of Vitalite is invited to speak at the 2019 AUW in Cape Town, South Africa.

The KEF Kigali was a dynamic event of knowledge sharing and networking. Upcoming EEP Africa events include an East Africa Investor Forum in Nairobi in December 2018 and a new Call for Proposals (CfP15) in 2019.

EEP Africa at the Clean Cooking Investment Forum in Rwanda

EEP participated in the first-ever Clean Cooking Investment Forum on 6 November in Kigali. The event convened more than 250 business leaders, investors, donors, and government representatives from over 40 countries to collaborate on the development of a global and sustainable clean cooking industry at scale.

 The event was co-hosted by the Clean Cooking Alliance  and Energy Private Developers Rwanda.  Several EEP supported project developers were featured on panel discussions including Burn, Inyenyeri, Simgas, Envirofit and Practical Action. The event highlighted the demand for growth in this sector to support the SDGs and the need for significant further investment.

 The EEP Africa Head of Portfolio and Finance, Lauri Tuomaala, was a panelist on “Market Developer Perspective” and shared key market insights from the latest EEP call for proposals organized in 2018. Based on market intelligence from the call, the clean cooking industry is developing rapidly. New business models and innovations are being introduced, and significant lessons are being deployed from the SHS market. The Kigali event on investment highlighted the same market transformation observed by EEP.

 EEP aims to continue developing the clean cooking sector and to support project developers in this sector in the 15 Southern and East African countries covered by EEP.

Unlocking Solar Capital Africa

EEP Africa also participated in the 3rd Unlocking Solar Capital Africa hosted by Solarplaza and GOGLA during Rwandan Energy Week. EEP Africa M&E Adviser, Anise Sacranie, attended the event along with over 350 representatives of development banks, investment funds, solar developers, IPPs, EPCs & other stakeholders. GOGLA shared its efforts to develop impact metrics and key performance indicators for the PAYG business model in collaboration with Lighting Global. The event also highlighted the challenges of accessing financing as one of the main barriers to exploiting the significant solar potential in Africa. This was particularly evident by the disparity between the number of financiers and project developers in the room. EEP Africa spoke with many of the investors present about how the Fund can support financing initiatives through its upcoming Investor Forum and other activities.

 

Photo gallery from EEP Knowledge Exchange Forum
Credit: High Media Studio, Rwanda