AECF participated in the 4th edition of the Energy and Renewable Energy Week in Africa (SEERA), on October 8th and 9th, 2020, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Sponsored by the Ministry of Energy of Burkina Faso, the event brought together dignitaries, high-level participants, experts and entrepreneurs in the public and private sectors to promote renewable energies and to discuss access to energy for all, under the theme Regional Integration for a Successful Energy Transition.
A great powerhouse in energy and a strong promoter of clean energy, this year’s honorary guest country, was the People's Republic of China, represented by its Ambassador to Burkina Faso, M. Li Jian.
In his opening remarks, Minister of Energy, Dr Ismael Bachir Ouedraogo emphasised Burkina Faso’s strong potential for generating solar energy. Annually the country receives 3,000 to 3,500 hours of peak sunshine.
“In the ECOWAS region, Burkina Faso is seen as an export country for solar energy. Our goal is to reach 1000 MW by end-2020 and connect one million people to the national SONABEL grid. Currently, 16 solar power plants are being built in Burkina with capacities of 250 MW,” he noted.
As part of its REACT Efficient Electrification Project (REACT-EEP) in Burkina Faso, AECF investees, Energy and Services, SIPE (Société Internationale d’équipement Pétrolier et d’Energie), AES (Africa Energy Solaire), and Microsow were present at the event to showcase their innovative solar energy solutions.
The companies were selected to participate in the two-year EEP pilot, which will provide an opportunity for households and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to access solar energy as primary or back up installations.
This will complement electricity supply capacity in Ouagadougou, to enable increased energy supply to the large industry and increase rural access to electricity for the development of the local economy. The subsidy provided to households is 30% and for SMEs, 20% for the acquisition of high-quality solar systems, complete with a warranty for quality assurance of systems performance.
In addition to numerous energy company booths, the forum hosted several panels, as well as a competition for innovative projects by youth.
AECF’s Portfolio Officer, Kadija Simboro moderated a panel of women leaders, experts and entrepreneurs in the energy sector, on Gender integration for energy access, which raised the question of women’s access to renewable energy.
“The panel allowed us to bring together the public sector, civil society organizations, development partners, the private sector and students to exchange on this important theme. Gender mainstreaming also requires the involvement of women in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, there is low representation of women in the energy sector in positions of responsibility. If we wish to address these strong imbalances, corrective measures should be taken at all levels in our educational and social systems to promote girls’ education in technical fields in order to support the integration of gender in the energy sector,” said Kadija.
Kadi Haezebrouck, Director of Energy and Services, and AECF investee and participant on the gender integration for energy access panel, highlighted the role women should play in accessing energy.
“Women’s participation in the renewable energy field is invaluable, and they would be able to accomplish so much more if they were given the opportunity and the means,” she said.
She called upon the Burkinabe authorities to speed up construction of mini-grids in villages, create access to energy fund for women, and provide homes with energy systems.
Despite the strict sanitary measures taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kadija dubbed the event a great success.
“Our investees were given an opportunity to present the work that we do in the renewable energy sector and its impact on communities,” she said.
REACT EEP is a partnership between the Ministry of Energy and the AECF, funded by the Swedish Embassy in Burkina Faso.