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.
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.