Etty Ekolan Alain (left) being congratulated by AfDB’s Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Solomon Asamoah
Etty Ekolan Alain is the winner of the top prize at the second West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF2). Alain’s project, Ivoire Hydro Energy, is a start-up in Côte d’Ivoire. It seeks to design, construct and operate a 44 megawatt hydro power plant on the country’s Bandama River under a concession agreement signed with the government in December 2013.
“I feel a lot of emotion for my project to have been selected winner of this award. I am proud of all the work done by my team,” he said after he was announced the winner on Thursday evening.
In a country that has growing energy needs, Alain is optimistic that his initiative will contribute to addressing the energy challenges. “I worked in the energy sector for 25 years, and that made it possible for us to identify the gaps which our project will help to solve,” noted an elated Alain.
Solomon Asamoah, African Development Bank’s Vice-President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, presented a certificate to Alain, at a ceremony held within the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan. Asamoah lauded WAFCEF for its efforts in nurturing innovations in the energy field. “I thank particularly the winner and those who submitted their proposals. The best result is the platform that this has given you to explore and find solutions to Africa’s energy problem,” he noted.
Ivoire Hydro Energy was selected among 10 finalists after they presented brief investment pitches, articulating their business plans to potential investors and lenders on Thursday, September 17. They also answered questions from the jury and audience.
This year’s WAFCEF featured 10 clean energy projects carefully selected in a West African regional business plan contest. The projects were from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. They cover green technologies involving biofuels, biomass, biogas, hydroelectric, solar, and conversion of waste-to-energy. The 10 projects represented a total aggregate investment of just under USD 500 million and a Green House Gas mitigation potential of about 920,000 tonnes CO2 per year.
WAFCEF2 was held alongside a High-Level Consultative Meeting towards a New Deal on Energy for Africa. The two-day meeting was convened by African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.
WAFCEF2 was organised in partnership with Climate Technology Initiative – Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI-PFAN), Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), USAID’s Power Africa Program and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). Others were ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC).
The first WAFCEF event was held in 2013, and was organised by the same partners. The winner was SMEFUNDS GEB (Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Fundamentals – Green Energy and Biofuels), a Nigerian start-up, and the first cooking fuel production facility to produce bio-ethanol gel cooking fuel from waste products and distribute improved clean cook stoves. The start-up was awarded a SEFA grant of US $580,000 to support advisory and technical studies for business expansion.
SEFA is hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change department of the African Development Bank.