The Second West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF2) awards, in which entrepreneurs showcase their projects in the area of clean and renewable energy, opened Thursday, September 17 at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan. The Forum provides finalists with an opportunity to present their projects to financiers and investors.
This year’s edition features 10 clean energy projects carefully selected as finalists in a West African regional contest. The projects are from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. They cover green technologies involving biofuels, biomass, biogas, hydroelectric, solar, and conversion of waste-to-energy.
Representatives from each of the 10 selected finalists are expected to make a brief investment pitch, articulating their business plans to potential investors and lenders, as well as answering questions from the audience. An expert jury will choose the top three for awards. At a rehearsal held on Tuesday, September 15, most of the contestants pointed to the energy gap in the region, which their projects sought to address.
“We are glad to see once again a diverse lot of projects driven by talented entrepreneurs. This is a reflection of the wide of range of ideas and solutions available to electrify the continent in an environmentally and socially sustainable fashion," said the African Development Bank’s Joao Duarte Cunha, Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which is co-sponsoring the award.WAFCEF2 is organised in partnership with ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Climate Technology Initiative - Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI-PFAN). It is part of a week-long (September 14-18) dialogue on renewable energy investment in Africa that includes the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy and Investment High Level Forum, and a High-Level Consultative Meeting towards a New Deal on Energy for Africa taking place in Abidjan.
SEFA co-sponsored the first WAFCEF event in 2013. The winner was Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Fundamentals-Green Energy and Biofuels (SMEFUNDS-GEB), a Nigerian start-up, and the first cooking fuel production facility project to produce bio-ethanol gel cooking fuel from waste products and distribute improved clean cookstoves. The start-up was awarded a SEFA grant of US $580,000 to support advisory and technical studies for business expansion.
SEFA is hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change department of the African Development Bank.