West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF)
Accra – West Africa Powers Ahead in Clean Energy
Ten clean energy projects, that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions across West Africa by approximately one million tones Carbon Dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year, were presented to investors in Accra at the West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF).
More than 80 financiers, clean energy experts and representatives of financial institutions from across Africa and overseas participated in the Forum. The meeting was organized jointly by the Climate Technology Initiative’s Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN), the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and USAID’s Regional Clean Energy Investment Initiative (RCEII), which is implemented by Nexant, Inc. Other partners included the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC), the ECOWAS Bank for Investment & Development (EBID), and the Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (BOAD).
The PFAN program is working in direct collaboration with the newly launched US Presidential Initiative, Power Africa, that aims to both dramatically increase the capacity of power generation on the grid for several African nations going forward, as well as to scale up off-grid and mini-grid small energy solutions to increase energy access to the poorest members of these countries. Power Africa is founded on the recognition that Africa possesses tremendous economic potential that could be unlocked in part by increased availability and access to energy, one of the key drivers of economic growth.
“By matching project developers from around the region with investors, this forum helps make projects happen and increases the flow of investment into developing clean energy markets in West Africa” said Peter Storey (CTI PFAN Global Coordinator).
“This event is part of the expansion of the approach employed by PFAN into West Africa with the support of RCEII. RCEII team is proud to contribute to fostering the expansion of clean, modern forms of energy to people in West Africa, a region of the world where energy poverty is still a severe impediment to economic growth, poverty alleviation and environmental protection. The presentations at WAFCEF illustrate that the private sector can play an important role in meeting these challenges,” said Edward Hoyt (Chief of Party of RCEII).
According to João Duarte Cunha, Coordinator of SEFA, “this initiative united like-minded partners interested in harnessing the entrepreneurial talent of the region to promote economic progress by using West Africa’s vast clean energy resources. WAFCEF really connected all the dots – entrepreneurs, ideas, advisory support and financing – and provided a platform for the often neglected smaller clean energy projects to succeed. “
Ms. Alma Mensah, representing the Director of ECREEE, Mr. Mahama Kappiah, welcomed the WAFCEF event as a great opportunity for the private sector to be more involved in the clean energy commitment of the ECOWAS region. She saw the Forum as a “demonstration of commitment to the region’s economic and social development in an environmentally benign manner, particularly given the critical role of RE & EE in the priority areas of development and the unsustainable nature of current energy practices. “
The projects showcased at the Forum represented a total aggregate investment of over US$80 million and included bio-fuels, solar, biomass and hydro-power initiatives developed by entrepreneurs and companies from Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
The projects were selected from over 70 submissions from across the ECOWAS region for their commercial viability and environmental and social 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 introductions to investors. CTI PFAN is currently working on more than 220 clean energy projects across Asia, Africa and Latin America and has already raised over US$507 million of investment for implementation of 42 clean energy projects.
From the 10 showcased projects, a panel of independent judges, including Acumen Fund, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment & Development (EBID), SOVEC and Eco Bank, selected the SMEFunds Bioethanol Scale-Up Project from Nigeria as the winner of the WAFCEF business plan competition. This project is looking to raise US$21 million of investment for the spinning-off of a successful second-generation bio-ethanol production and cook stove manufacturing operation into a separate company in order for it to achieve scale as a stand-alone business. The bioethanol is produced from sawdust and water hyacinth, using proprietary and patented technology, and then further refined to produce a safe and highly efficient bio-gel for use in specially manufactured cook stoves, which are also produced by SMEFunds, for distribution through a unique distribution network to service rural and peri-urban Nigeria.
“The CTI PFAN ECREEE programme is a springboard that has taken us to the next level. We now have the opportunity to raise the financing that will bring clean, stable, and affordable energy to millions of household across Africa. All we are saying is that cooking shouldn’t kill,” said Femi Oye, CEO of SMEFunds, the competition winner.
As an indication of the intense competition for the top spots, the judges selected three runners-up in the business plan competition. These were: •Azuri West Africa, a regional project of Azuri Technologies, looking to raiseUS$6.6 million to expand its existing solar light distribution business into West Africa, using an innovative pay-as-you-go payment model based on proprietary software and hardware, to provide base of the period customers with affordable light in rural West Africa;
•Moyamba 11 MW Hydro Project, developed and presented by SmolPawa, to construct and operate a small hydro power project on the Gbangba River in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone for captive off-take by three bulk users, including the local community through the power utility;
•The Wave2O Project by Resolute Marine will provide reverse-osmosis desalination powered solely by wave energy. The project involves the installation of the first Wave2O system in Cape Verde which is projected to have a capacity of 4,000 m3/day, and will supply more than 47,000 people with clean fresh water, eliminating 5,400 metric tons of CO2e/year.
“We were pleased to participate in the first edition of the WAFCEF business plan competition. Its unique focus on project financing is a perfect fit with our business development model and the team of outstanding mentors helped us tailor our business proposition to meet the needs of potential investors. We’re now fully prepared to launch our renewable energy technology into the ECOWAS marketplace, ” said Olivier Ceberio, COO and Co-Founder, Resolute Marine Energy.
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 entered into negotiations 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.
Andrew Reicher, Chairman of Berkeley Energy Africa, manager of Africa Renewable Energy Fund (AREF), the new US$150million renewable energy fund for sub-Saharan Africa, promoted by ABREC, and jointly sponsored by the African Development Bank and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, said: “WAFCEF 2013 was one of the most enjoyable and inspiring events I can remember. The presentations were of a very high standard, and the entrepreneurs were all eloquent and passionate. The business ideas they had created were varied and compelling. This was 21st Century Africa at its very best. CTI PFAN’s business plan competition process is striking and original and I saw first-hand how effectively CTI PFAN and its team of mentors helped the participants improve and present their ideas. WAFCEF is a highly valuable system of bringing ideas and investors closer together and showing both sides of what’s possible.”
CTI PFAN is a multilateral, public-private partnership initiated by CTI in cooperation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Expert Group on Technology Transfer.
African Development Bank is a regional multilateral development bank, engaged in promoting the economic development and social progress of its regional member countries (RMCs), and contributing to poverty reduction.
ECREEE is a specialized agency of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which acts as an independent body, within the legal, administrative and financial framework of ECOWAS rules and regulations. The overall objective of ECREEE is to contribute to the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of West Africa by improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services, energy security and reduction of energy-related GHG emissions and climate change impacts on the energy system.
The Regional Clean Energy investment Initiative (RCEII) implemented by Nexant, Inc. is a USAID-funded program designed to cooperate and engage various clean energy stakeholders to introduce and expand the activities of PFAN in West Africa and Central America, in order to increase access to financing for clean-energy businesses, including renewable energy and energy efficiency in those regions.