EEP Africa is collaborating with the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) to raise awareness about clean energy initiatives and strengthen opportunities in the sector for entrepreneurs and young people in Southern Africa.
On 24 June 2021, EEP Africa partnered with SACREEE and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to co-host a webinar on Funding Opportunities for SMEs in the SADC Region. This event was organised as part of the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility (SADC RE ESF), a technical support and mentorship platform for renewable energy entrepreneurs in the SADC region.
EEP Africa is honoured to serve on the SADC RE ESF Advisory Board and this event provided our Head of Portfolio and Finance, Lauri Tuomaala, an opportunity to introduce the fund and provide guidance to small businesses on project development and financing initiatives. During the active Q&A discussion, several participants commented on the valuable information being shared.
The webinar also featured one of the local entrepreneurs in the EEP Africa portfolio as a speaker. Maya Khonje-Stewart, the co-Founder of Yellow and a Rising Energy Leader, gave a first-hand account of the significance of funding for her start-up company’s growth and progress towards its goal of digital inclusion for women and access to affordable energy.
The EEP Africa funding was catalytic in Yellow growing its sales from 1000 to over 5000 units sold per month by the end of 2020. The successful growth opened many doors in our debt and equity fundraising activities, securing funding that we could not have achieved this quickly without support from EEP Africa. Mostly importantly, our number of female agents has grown, and many lives have been changed with access to solar home systems. - Maya Khonje-Stewart, Yellow co-Founder
SACREEE is also partnering with the African Union Youth Club (AUYC) on a new SADC Youth in Energy Webinar Series. The series aims to provide young people with a sector-specific platform to exchange innovative ideas and network. Outcomes and recommendations captured from the webinars will contribute to regional strategic interventions.
The first session in the series was held on 16 June 2021 and EEP Africa’s Head of Knowledge, Tracy Dolan, participated as a panelist alongside the IRENA Youth Delegate and representatives of Women in Sustainable Energy Lesotho (WISEL), Namibian Youth on Renewable Energy (NAYoRE) and the host organisations. The theme of the webinar was on Youth Engagement in the sector and participants enjoyed a lively panel discussion moderated by Shamil Agosi, the Founder and Regional Chair of AUYC.
The webinar was opened by Kudakwashe Ndhlukula, SACREEE Executive Director, who emphasised the role of youth in the region’s renewable energy transformation.
Youth are key stakeholders in the development agenda of the SADC region. …No access to energy means less access to training, education, lower skills, and very few job or economic opportunities. It is our belief that renewable energy can contribute to these… it is important that youth take an active part in the key solutions toward socio-economic development of the region. In our view, you the Youth are part of the solution. - Kuda Ndhlukula, SACREEE Executive Director
EEP Africa is proud to be a longstanding partner of SACREEE in promoting a clean energy transition in the SADC region. Events like these demonstrate the power of partnerships to reach new audiences and ensure that the energy sector is open and inclusive towards new voices and ideas.