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Building Clean Energy Businesses in Africa

Clean, efficient and renewable energy technologies are often too expensive for small businesses in developing countries to purchase. 

Since 1999, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme and the nonprofit E+Co, we have invested $4.3 million to help small-business owners use clean-burning sources of energy.  These sustainable energy enterprises reduce negative environmental and health effects and spur economic development in Africa.

The Africa Rural Energy Enterprise Development (AREED) approach offers rural energy entrepreneurs a combination of training, support to develop business plans and start-up financing. Helping these small businesses build a sound financial and business foundation attracts investors from more mainstream financial institutions. 

AREED companies offer a range of services and products, including energy-efficient cook stoves, solar dryers for food preservation, solar irrigation systems, wind-pump repair services, supply and service of solar home systems, liquefied petroleum gas services and environmentally friendly charcoal production. Without the seed funding from AREED, many of these small businesses would not be able to afford clean energy technology.

The AREED initiative, which operates in Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia, has created 29 enterprises, serving 400,000 people and displacing 200,000 tons of firewood.