TaTEDO has recently hosted a three-day AREED II partners meeting in Tanzania. The meeting was held from 4th to 6th of July 2011 at Kunduchi Beach Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The event brought together AREED partners from five countries. These countries are Tanzania, Mali, Zambia, Senegal and Ghana.
AREED is a UNEP initiative that operates in Africa to develop new sustainable energy enterprises using clean, efficient, and renewable energy technologies. These new enterprises could meet the energy needs of under-served populations while reducing the environmental and health consequences of existing energy use, particularly low quality biomass fuels such as wood and dung.
AREED has been offering rural energy entrepreneurship development services in Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia through a combination of enterprise development services and start-up financing. This integrated financial and technical support allows entrepreneurs to plan and structure their companies for growth and makes eventual investments by mainstream financial partners.
The objective of this meeting was to bring together partners in order to discuss the performance of the project and its future prospects. The partners’ representatives came from Mali Folkecenter Nyetaa (Mali), Centre for Energy, Environment and Engineering (Zambia), Enda Energy Environment Development (Senegal), KITE, (Ghana) and TaTEDO (Tanzania). The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Lawrence Agdemabiese and Maria Milagros Morales from UNEP and was officially opened by TaTEDO Executive Director, Mr. Estomih Sawe.
During his opening remarks, Mr. Sawe pointed out that the meeting was held at the right time when the energy problems of the developing countries are on the increase due to a number of reasons which include population growth, increasing oil prices and growing effects of climate change.
The meeting discussed project status in each country, constraints, lessons learnt and all participants had a chance to put forward their views about future of the AREED project. At the end of the meeting, participants agreed to share their experience on energy technologies among partners and agreed on the way forward on the implementation of pending activities. During the closing day, participants made a tour to the TaTEDO’s centre called Sustainable Energy Development Centre (SEDC) to see different energy technologies suitable for rural energy in Tanzania and Africa. During their tour, participants suggested to make the centre a
focal point of AREED network for technology demonstration and training.
AREED II is increasing access to modern, clean and reliable energy technologies and services in Africa. Raising Energy Levels in Rural Africa Energy poverty afflicts the majority of people living in rural areas of Africa. Per capita energy consumption in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in rural communities, is the lowest in the world: 0.3 to 0.6 toe/person. Africa’s energy balance continues to be dominated by biomass, which accounts for two-thirds of total rural household energy consumption.
With over 75% of the population living in rural areas, the situation is critical in terms of environment, health, as well as economic and social wellbeing. These shortcomings are compounded by extremely difficult initial conditions for energy sector development, including low levels of productivity, low per capita incomes, and poor access to credit facilities.
The AREED programme was founded on the idea that impoverished people can transform their lives and break out of the vicious circle of poverty when they are empowered from the ground up with clean energy services delivered by small and medium enterprises. A central lesson from AREED is that although the combination of enterprise development support and seed financing can be effective in expanding energy access, although it is often not enough to make entrepreneurs controller of rural energy markets. Without end-user financing, a significant proportion of potential users who could not afford to pay upfront for the products and services offered by the AREED entrepreneurs could not be reached.
AREED II addresses this problem by engaging more with microfinance institutions and local banks to facilitate flows of end-user financing to existing and potential customers of clean energy enterprises.