The third West African Forum for Climate and Clean Energy Financing (WAFCCEF-3) was held on Thursday, April 12 in the Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium at the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Representatives of international organisations, private developers and energy experts, and many academics and students attended.
Organized by the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) in partnership with the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the forum presented projects seeking finance and an interactive session between participants and energy experts.
In his opening remarks, Wale Shonibare, the Director of the Bank's Energy Financial Solutions, Regulation and Policy, emphasized the stakes of access to energy in Africa and then urged participants to think about the levers that might help the continent to catch up in this sector. "There is no development without access to energy. Having understood that energy is a development issue, the Bank has made the sector one of its five strategic priorities, or High 5s. The Light up and power Africa initiative aims to provide access to energy for as many Africans as possible," he observed.
Peter Storey, the PFAN Global Coordinator, saw the forum as an excellent platform for bringing together entrepreneurs involved in the struggle for an energy transition, recognized sectorial experts, and potential investors in the climate and clean energy.
A five-member jury then judged the presentations of 10 projects seeking finance. The Masada Waste Transformers and Solar Era Holdings, two projects from Sierra Leone, won the first two prizes. The first winning project is a private enterprise that recovers and transforms household waste, and the second is a solar energy producing undertaking. The jury also selected runners-up and second runners-up.
Storey observed, "We will be working with the winners, finalists and semi-finalists to help them complete the financing needed to implement their projects. Our goal is to help them get these 5 projects completely financed so that they can be implemented. He emphasized that, "It is always good for a project to have gone through PFAN because its stamp of approval considerably increases the project's chances of securing financing from other funders."
In addition to project presentations, the third Forum included an important interactive session between PFAN's professional coaches and participants. Discussions focused on strategies for developing bankable projects, on determining available finance mechanisms, and on the ways of involving universities and young people in a dialogue on renewable energy.