ECOWAS headquarters
in Abuja
 
Praia, Cape Verde — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 10 June 2011 – The ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) has launched the first call of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF).

The ‘green’ facility targets small and medium scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and businesses in peri-urban and rural areas of West Africa. The call is open for submissions until 15 July 2011.

In a statement released here, local and international applicants are invited to submit concept notes in English, French or Portuguese in accordance with the guidelines available at the ECREEE website www.ecreee.org. International applicants must have a West African partner.

Proposals covering one or more ECOWAS countries are eligible. These are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

The Facility provides small grants in the scope of two financing windows. The first window on investment promotion supports pre-investment activities such as strategic studies, site assessments, financial project structuring and the installation of small-scale pilot projects in rural communities. The other window on business development aims at strengthening local energy service and manufacturing companies, and promoting technology and know-how transfer.

“We thank the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for their initial financial and technical support, and would like to invite other financiers to join this important facility." says ECREEE executive director Mr. Kappiah.

“With the facility, we are aiming to mitigate existing financial barriers for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and businesses in rural and peri-urban areas of West Africa", explains Kappiah.
 
Presently, only 8% of the rural population in West Africa has access to electricity and other modern forms of energy services, and that’s mainly in urban centres. The transportation of fossil fuels to remote areas is often very costly and rural communities have to pay higher prices for energy services compared to the population in cities. Low-income groups are particularly vulnerable to price fluctuations such as the recent price increase of oil based products.