From 20 – 24 May 2019, delegates from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Infrastructure Project Preparatory Facility (NEPAD- IPPF) visited the ECREEE Secretariat in Praia, Cape Verde. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the progress of the Feasibility Study on Business Opportunities for Women in a Changing Energy Value Chain in West Africa.
The Feasibility Study is financed through a USD 1 Million grant from the NEPAD-IPPF Special Fund, a multi-donor Special Fund hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which supports African countries to prepare regional infrastructure projects in energy, transport, ICT, and transboundary water. The rationale for NEPAD-IPPF’s involvement in this project lies in the overall aim of developing the energy sector in Africa. The grant is being used in financing four (4) feasibility studies that lead to bankable projects. These feasibility studies will provide women businesses with the prerequisites used by financial institutions in accessing financing for energy projects.
Among others, the visit served to deliberate on the results of the prefeasibility study completed last year and how this was informing the country feasibility studies, which are currently underway.
According to the prefeasibility study, the energy value chain in West Africa is fast evolving due to diffusion of global advances in sustainable energy technologies and women entrepreneurs have already started transforming their business models to adapt to these changes. The prefeasibility study identified four areas where women entrepreneurs in West Africa could have a strong position in, if the identified bottlenecks could be removed. These areas are as follows: development of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution business in Nigeria; development of solar based electricity generation systems and solar lighting products distribution business in Ghana; development of clean energy powered mini and micro grid electricity generation and distribution business in Senegal; identification and development of smart applications for energy consumers in Cote d’Ivoire.
The meeting ended with parties agreeing on their respective roles in ensuring the timely and successful implementation of the regional project. Among others, the importance of organizing a high impact Investor Forum in November 2019, where the bankable projects from the study will be presented to investors with the aim to secure financing, was emphasized at the meeting and agreed by the project partners, ECREEE, AfDB and NEPAD-IPPF.