Providing Assistance to Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs in West Africa

Recent figures by the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that still nearly 1.3 billion people, mostly in Africa and Asia, are afflicted by energy poverty. As electricity demand continues to rise in West Africa, innovative solutions are needed to extend access to modern energy services. In many cases, renewable energy entrepreneurs undertake this task, who often face a lack of proper institutional and regulatory frameworks and a business environment that is not very conducive to private investment.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) recently established a support facility that will provide small- and medium-sized renewable energy enterprises with advisory assistance regarding business operations and project proposal refinement, especially in the field of solar photovoltaics. This facility shall help strengthen innovative ideas in the energy sector and make them more bankable. Regional renewable energy entrepreneurs can also seek assistance related to capacity building and technology adaptation from this newly-established facility (source: IRENA).

The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility, operationally active since January 2015, is based at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and builds upon the ECREEE-IRENA initiative called "ProSPER". This initiative is designed to promote the development, adoption and implementation of renewable energy policies, to increase the confidence of finance institutions on renewable energy technologies and businesses and to improve the sustainability of such projects and investments. More information about ProSPER (including its achievements, financing methods and possible partnership opportunities) can be found here.

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