The Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) and Serengeti Energy’s Umoja Incubator has announced the 2022 winner following its first Umoja incubator workshop in Cape Town, South Africa that ran from 14th November 2022 to 18th November 2022.
The Umoja Incubator was launched in June 2022 where renewable energy developers had the opportunity to submit their projects online. In addition, roadshows in five African countries and a webinar were undertaken to increase the reach of the program and motivate developers to apply. The application round was open from 27th June 2022 and closed on 23rd September 2022. Following the closure of the application round, the jury of experts from the renewable energy field were tasked to evaluate the applications over a four-week period to determine the shortlisted candidates for the program. The shortlisted applicants were then invited to participate at a physical workshop in Cape Town to make their final pitches and there after the winning renewable energy project was selected and announced.
PFAN’s global coordinator Peter Storey remarked that, “The Umoja Incubator brings together the strengths of two great organisations, pairing Serengeti Energy’s early-stage development finance capabilities and experience with PFAN’s expertise in project origination and preparation. This is a paradigm shift in mobilizing early-stage development finance and technical assistance in a unified one stop package, to help independent power producers from all over sub-Saharan Africa bring their projects to life and to expand and decarbonise Africa’s clean energy generation capacity. The timing of the announcement of the finalist projects to receive Umoja support couldn’t be better in reinforcing the COP27 call to action.”
Throughout the Umoja Incubator program, Serengeti Energy’s support and technical knowledge was offered to help the shortlisted project developers overcome obstacles to realizing their projects. As part of this project, the successful local developers of the winning project can partner up with Serengeti Energy for joint project development and receive significant support, including access to commercial and technical knowledge, capacity building, and eventually funding.
A total of 13 projects from Namibia, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Benin and Uganda were shortlisted for the final workshop in Cape Town, South Africa that brought together up to 17 local developers from across sub-Saharan Africa.
At the end of the week-long workshop covering expert trainings, networking sessions and capacity building for the developers the Benin 20 MW solar project presented by Sèna Christian Gbogbo and Pulchérie Paula Akouavi Agossanou as the lead developers, was crowned the 2022 winner of the first Umoja Incubator by Serengeti Energy.
“We are speechless, grateful and excited to be the winners of the Umoja Incubator. This is a great opportunity for us and we hope that through Serengeti Energy, we will overcome many obstacles that our project has been facing. We are rejuvenated
and excited to see the future of this great project in Benin” said Pulchérie Agossanou when she was awarded the trophy by Serengeti Energy’s development director, Wilfred Van den Bos.
Unique to Serengeti Energy, the Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) that was established to mitigate the short comings of the renewable energy generation market and aims to counter issues such as a lack of experience from local developers build capacity with local promoters and financial institutions to support renewable energy projects was also responsible for financing and leading the incubator program. The TAF has to date received grants of around USD 6M from KFW, NDF, SECO and KOICA. The grants are used to provide interest-free development loans and grants to projects that are undertaken by Serengeti Energy.
Serengeti Energy’s head of the TAF, Marian Grabowski said “The Serengeti Energy Umoja incubator has revealed a strong need for such high-impact programs in the market and we are pleased with the successful outcome of the first workshop. Serengeti Energy will continue to actively support local developers in their ambitions to developer renewable energy projects to address Africa’s energy crisis and fight climate change.”
Giving the closing speech at the award ceremony of the 2022 Umoja Incubator winner was the Serengeti Energy Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chris Bale. He remarked, “The transition to renewable energy must be intentional and not left to chance. Bringing together like-minded entrepreneurs from across sub-Saharan Africa and empowering them with the right tools to get their projects across the finish line is Serengeti Energy’s way of leading this renewable energy revolution. Congratulations to all the developers who were brave enough to showcase their projects through the Umoja Incubator and I believe anybody who participated in this process is a winner. Serengeti Energy is committed to developing, building and operating more sustainable renewable energy projects across the continent and we will continue to support local developers through this great initiative.”
Awarding of the Benin developers Sèna and Pulchérie by the Serengeti Energy team
The jury members
See the Press Release (PDF) here.
Visit the 2022 Umoja Incubator website here.
Initiated by the UNFCCC and the Climate Technology Initiative in 2006 and co-hosted by UNIDO and REEEP since 2016, PFAN’s global network of expert advisors provides free business coaching and investment facilitation to entrepreneurs developing climate adaptation and clean energy projects in low and middle-income countries.
About Serengeti Energy:
Serengeti Energy was formed in 2021 after the merger of rAREH, based in Kenya, and REH Group in South Africa. The company is an independent power producer developing, constructing and operating small to medium-sized renewable energy plants up to 50MW capacity in Sub-Sahara Afric