About AEEP

The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) was launched by African and European Heads of State in 2007 at the AU-EU Summit in Lisbon. It is one of five priority areas under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) and aims to connect the two continents in one mission: to increase the effectiveness of efforts to secure reliable and sustainable energy; to enhance access to modern energy services, and to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency in Africa.

The Partnership’s Steering Group is comprised of the African Union Commission, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat, Egypt, the European Commission, Germany, and Italy.


UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, is the specialised agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability. With its unique mandate to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in developing countries and in economies in transition, UNIDO contributes to the three pillars of sustainable development, as recognised by the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNIDO works to promote the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG-9 which calls on all to help “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”.

Within this context, UNIDO supports the transition to a sustainable energy path, SDG – 7, as a key solution to a climate resilient and economically sustainable growth. UNIDO also accords high priority to technology innovation and transfer and capacity building of industries including small and medium sized enterprises. It supports projects and programmes that leverage the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to address the energy, environmental and economic challenges of today by empowering emerging clean-tech start-ups and bolstering the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and policy frameworks.


The ARE-AEEP-UNIDO Cooperation

The publication “Energy Access from the Bottom Up: Start-up and SME Showcase 2018” shined a spotlight on 15 innovative African and European start-ups and small- to medium-sized enterprises in the energy access space, mostly active in Africa and key recommendations.

It was prepared as background information to the context of the Business Forum “Decentralized Energy in Developing Countries”, held in Vienna on the 2nd of October 2018. The Business Forum which was a side event of the High-Level Conference on “Regional Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries”, took place on the 3rd of October 2018 in Vienna, Austria, as part of the Austrian Presidency of the Council for the European Union, and as part of European efforts more broadly to support sustainable energy in Africa. It also marked a follow-up in the discussions initiated and implemented by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development around their initiative Green People’s Energy for Africa as part of the Zambia Off-Grid Investors Forum, held in Lusaka, Zambia, in June 2018.

The aim of the Business Forum, and of this publication, was to contribute to the global efforts to scale up private sector and innovation capacities in Africa to make SDG-7 - and particularly universal access to energy services - a reality by 2030. In particular, the event and publication provided:

  • first-hand insights into operations on the ground;
  • key ideas and recommendations for the public sector;
  • promoted the uptake of renewable energy business opportunities, and
  • informed about new technology solutions in fields like digitalisation and fintech, which were elementary parts to be considered for increasing sub-regional cooperation and implementing fit-for-use policies and standards.

As a global but locally acting business and know-how exchange hub, ARE with its 130 committed and passionate companies as well as with its partners played a key role in rolling out new market developments and business technology trends worldwide, as we help to create win-win solutions via the ARE Off-grid Matchmaking Platform.


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David Lecoque


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