Swedish Agency Invests $7M In Renewable Energy

The organisation will also help consumers get loans to invest in renewable energy, through partner financial institutions, namely Equity Bank, Post Bank and Opportunity Bank in Uganda; First Community Bank, Equity Bank, Unaitas Sacco, Kiva, Rafiki microfinance institution and KCB Bank in Kenya and Wadoki Sacco and Postal Bank in Tanzania.

Technicians install solar panels in a health centre in Rwanda. The projects has benefited micro-enterprises providing renewable energy solutions. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya

Technicians install solar panels in a health centre in Rwanda. The projects has benefited micro-enterprises providing renewable energy solutions. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya

The Global Village Energy Partnership, a UK-based non-governmental organisation, has launched the second phase of a renewable energy capital access programme for East Africa.

The three-year, $7 million facility, dubbed Capital Access for Renewable Energy Enterprises, is operating in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, and is supported by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency.

So far, the project has benefited nearly 1,400 micro-enterprises involved in the provision of renewable energy such as solar power, briquettes, improved cook stoves and biogas to consumers across the region, serving four million consumers.

GVEP programme operations manager James Maillu told The EastAfrican that the new project is designed to improve capital access in the renewable energy markets in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda till 2015.

“Essentially, we are going to support entrepreneurs in clean energy through skills transfer, capital access and delivery networks to ensure that they can reach out to the people who are cut off from the national electricity grid and those who are underserved,” said Mr Maillu.

The organisation will also help consumers get loans to invest in renewable energy, through partner financial institutions, namely Equity Bank, Post Bank and Opportunity Bank in Uganda; First Community Bank, Equity Bank, Unaitas Sacco, Kiva, Rafiki microfinance institution and KCB Bank in Kenya and Wadoki Sacco and Postal Bank in Tanzania.

Mr Maillu said the organisation plans to promote the use of improved cook stoves in Uganda; household cook stoves and briquettes in Kenya and solar energy and briquettes in Tanzania by linking consumers with reputable renewable energy dealers and manufacturers.

In Rwanda, the organisation will promote entrepreneurs in mini-hydroelectric and solar energy sectors.

Data from GVEP shows that 95 per cent of Uganda’s population still uses wood fuel for cooking and sometimes lighting compared with 91 per cent in Rwanda and Tanzania, and 85 per cent in Kenya due to the high cost of electricity and lack of information about the availability of renewable energy as the alternative.

So far, 16 secondary schools in Uganda, out of the targeted 300 schools by 2015, have installed improved cook stoves. These cook stoves consume less wood, hence saving on cost of fuel; reducing the environmental impact of cutting down trees for firewood and reducing smoke emissions.

John Muyingo, Uganda’s State Minister for Higher Education, said the low coverage of electricity coupled with high tariffs and information gaps about renewable energy are the main causes of high usage of wood fuel, which threatens the existence of forests in the region.

According to the National Environment Management Authority in Uganda, woodland coverage in the country now stands at only 20 per cent, down from 45 per cent in 1890. This has been caused mainly by human encroachment for agriculture, unsustainable harvesting and settlement.

– The East African