2nd West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2)
17th September, 2015 at AfDB, CCIA, Abidjan-La Cote d’Ivoire
The second West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2) was held on the 17th of September 2015 in Abidjan. It was the hallmark of a week-long of activities planned in collaboration with partner institutions. It was organized jointly by the Climate Technology Initiative’s Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN), the AfDB through its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Power Africa Initiative of the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID). Other partners included the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC), and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment & Development (EBID).
The forum and related events brought together project developers, investors, policy and decision makers, to meet and assess investment opportunities as well as explore relevant inter linkages between enabling environment and project development and financing.
WAFCEF-2 was graced by high level guests including the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan; Vice Prime Minister Thomas Luhanka of Democratic Republic of Congo and Tony Elumelu, a renowned investor and a member of the Africa Energy Leaders Group.
In all, ten clean energy projects that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions across West Africa by about 920,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year, were presented to investors.
A preparatory workshop that saw the finalists sharpen their presentation skills and fine tune their investor pitches preceded the forum 2 days prior.
Objectives of the Forum
–Facilitate match-making for investment ready projects by creating the interface between project developers and investors
–Expose project developers to the art of selling their projects to investors/financiers and be able to respond to queries.
–Create and promote the CTI PFAN network effect between the selected project developers, the coaches, investors and the organizers;
–Provide platform to identify the needs of the stakeholder clean energy investing and financing community so as to fashion appropriate strategies for clean energy development.
Overview of Proceedings
The opening session was marked by the launch of AfDB’s president’s initiative on New Energy Deal for Africa. The president of the Bank, Akinwuni Adesina delivered the keynote address. Mr. Adesina highlighted the critical role of entrepreneurs in developing projects and businesses in the sector, and held out the experience of Femi Oye of SMEFunds, the winner of the WAFCEF competition in 2013 as an example of the sort of businesses that the AfDB and other institutions must support. The New Deal for Energy in Africa contemplates a $55-billion expansion of AfDB’s support for the energy sector in Africa
along with a call for expanded donor support for activities in the sector.
Tony Elumelu and the two prime ministers also addressed the forum.Tony Elumelu emphasized the need for putting in place the right policy framework to attract capital. According to him policy constraints, non-payment and poor infrastructure make it difficult to undertake projects, or in the case of existing businesses, to undertake expansions. Prime Minister Kablan Duncan of Côte d’Ivoire reinforced support for the AfDB initiative to expand financing for the energy sector. Vice Prime Minister Thomas Luhanka of DRC underscored the importance of creating the right policy frameworks to foster development of energy projects and services.
The Global Coordinator for CTI PFAN, Peter Storey set the tone for the Business Plan Competition by showing a short video of the services provided by CTI PFAN that contributes to the development and financing of clean energy projects.
The finalist took turns to make 15 minutes presentation of their projects making the business case for these projects and inviting prospective investors to accompany them in making available the required funding to support the projects. Each presentation was followed by questions from the judges either seeking clarity or critiquing assumptions alluded to in the presentations.
A reception and presentation ceremony followed the day’s activities after the judges retired to deliberate on winners for the Business Plan Competition. Awards were presented to deserving winners. In attendance were the West Africa Mission Director of USAID Alexander Depreez, Executive Director of ECREEE Mahama Kappiah, Vice President of AfDB Kofi Frimpong and Global Coordinator for CTI PFAN Peter Storey. Senior level management of AfDB, investors, developers and policy makers were also present at the awards ceremony.
Project Developers Summary
The projects showcased at the Forum represented a total aggregate investment of nearly US$480 million and included bio-fuels, biogas, solar, biomass and hydro-power initiatives developed by entrepreneurs and companies from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, as well as a regional investment initiative.
The projects were selected from over 50 submissions from across the ECOWAS region for their economic viability and environmental benefits. Before being presented at the Forum, each of them received intensive mentoring from professional consultants, using the tried and tested CTI PFAN project development and financing methodology to prepare their business plans and groom them for investment.
Ivoire Hydro (Cote d’Ivoire) was adjudged to be the winner of the business plan competition.
Comments by Participants at the Forum:
“CTI PFAN is a fantastic platform to develop renewable energy projects in West Africa. I found the whole process assisted me to refine our project, develop high quality pitches to investors, and network with professionals that are leading in their field. The whole process is great and everyone developing a clean energy project should apply.”
“This is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs in Africa to develop their projects in Africa. This shows that with the right support, entrepreneurs can develop good projects.”
Beyond the exposure and the opportunity to present to prospective investors, PFAN and its partners will continue to support all 10 finalists. The support will take the form of tipping point technical assistance for those projects that are assessed to have a need for such facility as well as continued finance facilitation for the projects i.e. introduction to investors.
Coaches are also available to guide developers in their dealings and negotiations with investors while at the same time offering targeted interventions in specific areas identified as needing additional work.
WAFCEF2 turned out to be a success. It was extremely patronized and received a lot of international and local press attention. More than 200 financiers, clean energy experts and representatives of financial institutions from across Africa and overseas participated in the Forum.
For investors, WAFCEF was a great opportunity to access a select group of clean energy projects with high profit potential, verified environmental and development benefits, which are ready for investment. A number of the showcased projects had preliminary discussions with investors as a result of their presentation at the Forum. It also provided a unique networking forum for West Africa’s clean energy entrepreneurs and policy makers.
Events were successful and objectives and set targets were met. There was great cooperation from the organizer, coaches, project developers and invited guests. We would like to express our gratitude to all participants.