Copenhagen, 19-20 February – UDP hosted a meeting over two days at the UN City with the 5 African partners of the AREED programme together with a representative of UNEP DTIE, to discuss and agree on the structure and modalities for the next phase of the UNEP programme, AREED III.
Overcoming barriers to clean and sustainable energy supplies in five countries of Western and Southern Africa, UNEP’s African Energy Enterprise Development (AREED) Programme has been working to meet the energy needs of rural poor since its launch in 2000. Over its two phases of operation, the programme has worked with local partner organizations in the five participating countries: Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment, KITE (Ghana); Mali Folkecenter, MFC (Mali), Enda Tiers Monde, ENDA (Senegal); Tanzania Traditional Energy Development and Environment Organisation, TaTEDO (Tanzania); and Centre for Energy, Environment and Engineering, Zambia Ltd., CEEEZ (Zambia).
During the meeting, all partners agreed in principle on the new construction, which will simply be called AREED, and will support the establishment of social enterprises for provision of sustainable energy in the 5 host countries through enterprise development services, as well as facilitating financial support through MFIs.
The first phase of the AREED project, known as AREED I, supported the development of new sustainable energy enterprises that employed clean, efficient and modern energy technologies to meet the energy needs of the under-served populations in rural areas, addressing socio-economic needs for quality of life improvement, income generation and environmental protection. The UNEP Risø Centre, now UDP, was involved actively in AREED as member of the project management committee.
As a follow-up of AREED I, AREED II (2008-20012) was launched with the same overall objective to improve access to modern, clean and reliable energy technologies and services for income generation by rural poor in Africa, but with the added involvement of local micro-finance institutions (MFIs), and provision of support to energy end-users who otherwise were not able to afford the clean energy services.
AREED II was managed by UNEP’s Energy Branch of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE). UDP carried out an outcome analysis of AREED, encompassing both phases, published in 2013 as a UDP report (Energy SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa: Outcomes, barriers and prospects in Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia) and in subsequent journal articles. More recently, UDP has facilitated, along with UNEP DTIE, a terminal evaluation of AREED II, carried out by an independent consultant and completed in October 2014.
It was decided at the meeting of the partners that contacts to government agencies concerned with energy access and enterprise development, one of the areas highlighted for more attention in the AREED II evaluation, will be enhanced in the next phase. Details of the new AREED set up are expected to be worked out in the coming months.