ECOWAS Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility

Extending access to electricity to millions of people, covering the growing demand of electricity in West Africa and tackling climate change at the same time are the major energy challenges in ECOWAS. The role of local entrepreneurs is crucial to face such challenges, being the best placed to identify local needs. Therefore, strengthening renewable energy capacities among them will be one of the key actions to take in order to overcome sustainable energy obstacles in the region. 

Taking that into account, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency partnered with IRENA, CERMI, 2iE and Luxembourg Cooperation to create in April 2015 the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility. The Facility aims to provide support to ECOWAS-based entrepreneurs working in Renewable energy sector by training them and offering technical support in order to refine their projects and enable their RE business to prosper. 

To achieve its goals, the Facility organizes training workshops according to the needs identified. A call for proposals is first launched, whereby ECOWAS-based entrepreneurs can submit their applications stating their requests for assistance regarding the challenges they are facing. Once the call is closed, the Technical Committee can use the applications to select the participants and plan the training workshops in accordance with the main concerns of the entrepreneurs.

Two calls for proposals have been launched so far (one per year), resulting in two training workshops each. A second training for the second call of proposals is to be held in Praia the 7th of November.


ECOWAS Facility Training Workshop in Praia

As part of the second round of training, the Facility organizes a training workshop in solar PV mini-grids, which will be held in Praia from the 7th to 11th of November. Designed to fulfill the requests from the entrepreneurs, the workshop will focus in the technical and financial aspects of mini-grids. Several financial institutions from ECOWAS will also attend the workshop, which will allow them to better understand the risks and opportunities related to Mini-Grid projects, as well as to have access to project proposals form the entrepreneurs.

The main objective of this workshop is to strengthen both technical and business capacities of the regional SMEs and financial institutions and to increase the opportunities for SMEs in getting involved in the Solar PV Mini-Grid business. 

The training will consist of lectures in both technical and financial aspects, field visits and practical sessions to apply the knowledge acquired to concrete projects. Apart from that, entrepreneurs will be able to make presentations of their project proposals to financial institutions.