EEP Africa Approves 19 New Projects Featuring Women in Clean Energy

11 female CEOs stand out among the 19 clean energy startups, early stage companies and projects at feasibility stage approved by the EEP Africa Innovation Window Investment Committee

The EEP Africa Innovation Window Investment Committee (IC) met in Nairobi, Kenya on 26 September 2019 to approve funding for a new cohort of projects submitted under the latest EEP Africa open call-for-proposals: “Promoting Gender Inclusion, Female Leadership and Opportunities for Women across the Clean Energy Sector in Southern and East Africa.”

The IC was chaired by Mr. Aleksi Lumijärvi, Program Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and included Ms. Anu Hassinen, Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Ms. Nishdeep Sethi, Deputy Head of Structured Finance and Products at the Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF).

Ms. Sethi joined the IC as an independent member, enhancing synergies within the NDF portfolio of climate finance activities and building a linkage to the new joint initiative of AGF and the African Development Bank (AfDB), Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), announced recently at the 2019 G7 Summit in Biarritz. The planned USD 200 million initiative will catalyze access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Africa and holds potential to link closely to women-owned and women-led companies in the EEP Africa clean energy portfolio.

Ambassador Christian Fellner, Austria’s Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to the UN in Nairobi, joined the opening session of the IC meeting and endorsed the strong focus on women, sustainable jobs and private sector led green growth.

“Having now chaired two investment committee rounds under EEP Africa, I am pleased to see continuous evolution and improvements in process and quality,” said NDF Program Manager and Investment Committee Chair, Aleksi Lumijärvi. “We were able to approve a broadly diversified portfolio of 19 projects, all strongly aligned with the core EEP Africa mandate to support early stage clean energy innovation while also enhancing our focus on women and women leadership.”

This was the 15th call-for-proposals (CfP15) under EEP Africa since 2010 and the first call with a specific theme. The call attracted 285 applications and a combined financing request of EUR 97 million. The applications included a diverse set of innovative business models covering 12 different clean energy technologies and 14 countries.

“We already knew that women are leading the clean energy transition in Africa and now we can point to an EEP Africa portfolio that says the same thing,” said EEP Africa Fund Manager and NDF Program Manager, Charles Wetherill, “11 out of 19 new portfolio companies are led by female CEOs, and all 19 feature unique dimensions on engaging women in clean energy design, delivery and use.”

The motivation for a themed call-for-proposals featuring women in the clean energy sector stems from earlier knowledge work and EEP Africa analysis of its own portfolio which resulted in a major study released in 2017: Understanding the Role of Women and Girls in Renewable and Energy-Efficiency Projects. One of the core findings from the study was that “women and girls stand to benefit the most from the availability of sustainable, affordable and renewable energy sources.”

Further insights on the clean energy market demand stemming from the applications to this latest EEP Africa call can be accessed here: Promoting Women in Clean Energy: Insights from 285 EEP Africa Applications.

Photo credit: Agsol

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 debt financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models in Southern and East Africa.

Investor Forum Matchmakes Companies and Investors in Clean Energy

EEP Africa, Shell Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures together with select investors and companies come together in Nairobi for high energy investor day.

EEP Africa, Shell Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures convened a select group of impact investors for structured matchmaking meetings with a curated group of high impact, investible clean energy companies in Nairobi on 24 September 2019.  The invitation-only event brought together more than 50 global and regional investors, DFIs and funds together with more than 20 leading innovation- and impact- oriented companies in clean energy and sustainable transport.

The day showcased the value of partnerships at all levels. EEP Africa and Shell Foundation each have long experience hosting successful investor events and deep early stage investment portfolios in clean energy in Africa. Together with Factor[e] Ventures, the partners together brought a combined portfolio of high quality companies in front of a room of investors, providing pure added-value in a single day for investors and companies alike.

Kicking off the event on behalf of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), EEP Africa Fund Manager and NDF Program Manager Charles Wetherill told the audience,

“I ran into a CEO in the airport yesterday who said he dropped everything and flew here exclusively for this event when he saw the high quality investor list.”

“Our purpose is to catalyse investment in a curated pipeline of investible companies delivering climate relevant, clean energy business models in line with the SDGs,” Wetherill said in a morning address to investors, adding, “we want to be your trusted and preferred partner for identification of the next generation of scalable investment opportunities in clean energy in Africa.”

The day also offered dedicated opportunities for investors only to network and discuss topics including catalysing blended finance, valuation strategies, access to local currency debt and guarantees and best practices on identifying, mentoring and investing in local African entrepreneurs. Participants included private equity and impact investors, debt and guarantee providers, grant facilities, local banks, and DFIs.

EEP Africa Head of Portfolio & Finance, Lauri Tuomaala, highlighted that

the strong portfolio of companies here today is a testament to the power of partnership and provides investors with an efficient platform to connect with emerging players in the sector and identify investment opportunities.

EEP Africa was proud to partner with Shell Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures on this major event.

Access to finance is a key barrier towards scaling off-grid energy and transport businesses in East Africa,” noted Heidi Hafes, Market Development Manager for Shell Foundation. “Events like these are important in bringing together investors active in the sector with relevant entrepreneurs. We look forward to seeing today’s vibrant discussions lead to positive actions.

Faith Chege, East Africa Regional Associate at Factor[e] Ventures, emphasized that “the strong network of investors here provide follow-on funding to our diverse portfolio of found and validated companies, creating a rich pipeline of technology-enabled ventures in the region. These partnerships have made it possible for funded companies to raise Series A and B rounds.

Participating companies were also selected from the portfolio of the Nordic Climate Facility, a challenge fund facility managed by NDF and providing early stage grant support for innovative climate business concepts with focus on specific countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Ramses Malaty, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Kenya, closed the event by noting that it’s “great to witness the effect of Finland’s long-term commitment to EEP Africa. The private sector collaboration keeps growing and getting better all the time!”

Plans are already underway for the next investor event to take place in South Africa in the first half of 2020. Interested investors are invited to be in touch at info@eepafrica.org to explore participation.

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

Shell Foundation (SF) is a UK-registered charity that creates and scales business solutions to enhance access to energy and affordable transport. It supports innovators to test new technology and enterprise models that can contribute towards the SDGs, achieve financial independence and operate at scale.

Factor[e] Ventures is a venture capital firm with operations in East Africa, USA & India. We invest in early stage ventures in agriculture, sanitation, mobility & energy. Through our venture development high touch model, we work closely with our portfolio companies to transform their ideas into market based solutions.

Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) is a challenge fund hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) financing early stage climate projects in select countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. NCF aims to build a portfolio of innovative business concepts which have been tested, proved viable and are ready to be scaled-up and replicated.

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 as a pdf.

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