First prize at the 2nd edition of the Clean Energy Financing Forum
Published on 13 Dec 2020

Solomon Asamoah, Vice President, Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, AfDB congratulates Alain Ekolan Etty (left).

Ekolan Alain Etty is the first prize winner of the second edition of the West Africa Clean Energy Financing Forum (WAFCEF2). Etty is the leader of Ivory Hydro Energy, an Ivorian start-up that is working on the design, construction and operation of a 44 MW hydroelectric power plant on the Bandama River in Côte d'Ivoire under a concession agreement signed with the government in December 2013.

"I am very moved that my project has won this award and very proud of all the work done by my team," he said after the results were announced late Thursday.

Due to the increasing energy needs of the Ivory Coast, Etty is confident in the role that his initiative can play in resolving the energy challenges. “My 25 years of experience in the energy sector has enabled us to identify the gaps that our project will help fill,” he added with great enthusiasm.

Solomon Asamoah, Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in charge of infrastructure, private sector and regional integration presented a certificate to Etty during a ceremony held at AfDB headquarters in Abidjan. Asamoah commended the work of WAFCEF2 to promote innovations in the energy sector. “I would like to especially thank the winner and all the other candidates. Above all, the Forum will have made it possible to create a space conducive to the identification of solutions to the problem of energy in Africa, "he observed.

Ivoire Hydro Energy was selected among the 10 finalists who, on Thursday, September 17, had defended their business plans in the form of a brief investment pitch before a panel of potential investors and lenders. The candidates also answered questions from the jury and the public.

This year, WAFCEF2 carefully selected 10 clean energy projects in a business plan competition held in West Africa. Originating from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, the projects focused on green technologies such as biofuels, biomass, biogas, hydroelectric, solar and the transformation of waste into energy. In total, they represented an investment of almost US $ 500 million and a potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions of around 920,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

In parallel with WAFCEF2, a high-level consultative meeting was held on the development of a New Pact for Energy in Africa. The two-day meeting which took place at AfDB headquarters was convened by AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

WAFCEF2 was organized in partnership with the Climate Technology Initiative - Private Finance Advisory Network (CTI-PFAN), the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), the USAID Power Africa program and the Regional Center for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (CEREEC) of ECOWAS. Partners also included the ECOWAS Investment and Development Bank (EBID) and the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC).

The first edition of WAFCEF2 was organized by the same partners in 2013. The first prize was then awarded to the Nigerian start-up SMEFUNDS GEB (Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Fundamentals - Green Energy and Biofuels) for its installation project aimed at using waste to produce gelled biofuel for stoves, but also to deliver improved, non-polluting stoves. The start-up had received a SEFA grant of US $ 580,000 to fund advisory services and technical studies for its expansion.

SEFA is hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the African Development Bank.