Lisbon, 23 March 2017 – In a joint effort to mobilise key stakeholders to invest in off-grid renewables in developing and emerging markets, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) together with Energias de Portugal (EDP) and the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) organised a two-day investment forum in Lisbon, Portugal on 22-23 March 2017. The forum was attended by over 300 representatives from the international public and private sector, including high-level institutions, financiers, technical support and solution providers as well as project developers.
The ARE Energy Access Investment Summit on 22 March 2017 was a chance for participants to deepen their understanding of current policy frameworks, financial trends and technical support tools available and how to best use them. In support of the European Commission’s recent initiative to promote women entrepreneurship, the Summit highlighted the importance of empowering women in the sustainable energy sector as key change agents to achieve SEforAll objectives. ARE has, therefore, launched a position paper identifying three key recommendations on the policy and regulatory level to address women’s needs, constraints and opportunities.
António Mexia, CEO, EDP: “The ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Lisbon was an excellent opportunity to discuss the major market opportunities and challenges, to promote effective one-to-one matchmaking and to support the decision-makers to go deeper into rural electrification through off-grid renewable energy solutions. EDP is a company committed to sustainability, and one of our goals is to fight energy poverty. We develop Access to Energy Programmes for corporate social responsibility purposes and we seek for viable opportunities in this market, by developing and implementing business cases that are commercially sustainable.”
Ernesto Macias, President, ARE: “ARE has evolved tremendously in the last 11 years. Investment opportunities are available and the interest and commitment from public institutions, the private sector and civil society is there. As highlighted by Rachel Kyte (CEO of SEforALL), one of the steps to scaling up energy access is to strengthen coordination amongst major institutions. If we can close this gap, we are one step closer to lightening up the lives of the remaining 1.1 billion people without electricity.”
The forum also gave recognition to companies and organisations, which have made special contributions to advance the rural electrification sector. In its second year running, this year’s ARE Awards were discerned to:
On that same occasion, the forum also paid tribute to inspiring young leaders advocating and working to improve access to clean energy services in Africa. The Young Leaders in Energy Access Awards is an initiative of the Energy Access work stream under the Africa-EU Energy Partnership. The winners of the Awards were:
Building upon the strong foundation created by discussions and announcements during the Summit, the B2B Off-grid Matchmaking on 23 March 2017 featured presentations on off-grid markets in Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and Senegal, as well as a presentation of key initiatives from the African Development Bank. This was followed by structured B2B matchmaking sessions where participants could network and identify potential business partners and financiers. About 230 parties engaged in more than 600 direct meetings.
Michael Franz, Team Leader, RECP: “We have come a very long way with the off-grid sector, as the record attendance in this forum shows. Off-grid markets are front and centre stage, and we are now seeing viable and scalable business models emerge. Particularly encouraging was to see the young leader awards showing a bright future ahead!”.
Finally, in parallel with the B2B matchmaking session, 35 Vlerick Business School students offered free consulting services on business challenges presented by six companies, focusing on investment analysis, business model formulation and financial modeling.
Read the main recommendations from the forum (updated 25 April 2017)