Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag visited Niger last week to discuss entrepreneurship and employment. As part of her visit, AgriProFocus organised a lunch, during which the Minister spoke with local (agricultural) entrepreneurs and other organisations involved.
Challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs in Niger
Niger is struggling with a high youth unemployment rate. Niger has proportionally high numbers of young people and many development sectors are left unexploited. Young entrepreneurs face multiple challenges, among which a lack of entrepreneurial awareness, limited access to tools and a dearth of development opportunities in general, especially for women. At the same time, there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs in the country, most notably in the agricultural sector as the area has a lot of agricultural potential.
The Netherlands therefore supports local activities by focusing on private sector development, entrepreneurship and education to assist the new generation with the development of the right skills and instruments. The AgriProFocus network, coordinated by Rakia Gazibou from Partners for Innovation, focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and employment for the youth and women.
Joining forces to stimulate entrepreneurship
The participants came up with concrete solutions to tackle the abovementioned challenges. For example, they identified the importance of fair competition between local and imported products, both in terms of price levels as well as packaging & certification. Entrepreneurship should be stimulated to join forces, so they can jointly step out and make a collective impact. The establishment of a ministry aimed at youth entrepreneurship could also make a substantial difference.
At the end of the lunch, the minister expressed her satisfaction and indicated that the Netherlands would support Niger in the development efforts to promote agricultural entrepreneurship, youth employment, education and water. Further strengthening of cooperation between Niger and the Netherlands is high on her agenda.
Earlier this year, Partners for Innovation and MDF West Africa provided trainings to government and non-government organizations active in West Africa’s energy sector.
In this project, we focused on promoting equality between men and women in the 15 ECOWAS-countries by providing key stakeholders with the tools to strengthen the position of women in the energy sector. By supporting representatives from the energy ministries, as well as NGO’s and business support organizations with strong track records in private sector capacity development, we set out to mainstream gender-sensitivity in both the public policy and private project development simultaneously.
This project was carried out on behalf of the Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN), who recently released a video to highlight the importance of gender mainstreaming in the energy sector.
Click here to watch the video at the CTCN website.
On 30 October, a stakeholder meeting (Indaba) on the valorisation of biomass in South Africa took place at the Sasol head office in Sandton. This meeting is part of a large-scale initiative of Partners for Innovation and iLive Sustainable Development to valorise solid biomass waste streams with a consortium of Dutch and South-African companies and with support from the Dutch government.
The short-term goal of the initiative is to draw up a profitable business plan for large-scale production of wood pellets in two mothballed pellet plants. The raw materials used in the pellet factories include sawdust, garden waste and Alien Invasive Species clearing.
By setting up this commercial initiative, we expect to create more than 220 direct jobs, generate more than 750MWth of renewable energy and realize a reduction of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The long-term goal is to identify and valorise as many other solid biomass streams in South Africa as possible.
Do you want to know more about this biomass initiative in South Africa? Contact Emiel Hanekamp.
In September 2018, a consortium of Partners for Innovation Niger, Marge and ECA started a new project on the support of Green Mini-Grid Developers in Niger. The first step is to identify developers interested to set-up green mini-grid projects in Niger. As of right now, the call for proposals is open.
Until 4 November, developers can show their interest and submit their plan at the Ministry of Energy’s Rural Electrification Agency (ANPER) in Niger. More information on the procedure can be found at their website (French).
The large majority of rural areas in Niger lacks access to electricity, and extension of the national grid is often not feasible in the medium term. In such situations, setting up local mini-grids that are powered by means of solar PV is more and more often regarded as a viable way to electrify isolated villages. However, many local project developers with the interest and potential capacity to help tackle this problem, require support to realize their ambitions.
That is why 30 mini-grid developers will be identified, trained and supported in the realization of pilot projects. In addition, five feasibility studies will be carried out for prospective sites and relationships between banks / financial institutions and project developers will be build. The project is being carried out on behalf of the African Development Bank and the Ministry of Energy Niger.
In South Benin, small wind turbines have been highlighted as a type of technology with a very significant – but at the same time greatly underutilized and under-researched potential for renewable energy-based electrification. Partners for Innovation carried out a feasibility study and drew up an action plan for the manufacturing of components for small-scale wind turbines in Benin.
It is often unclear what the benefits of small wind power are when applied in a new context, as it is a technology for which the feasibility and desirability can be strongly dependent on local socio-economic circumstances. In this, a key determinant of success is the role that local manufacturing can play; not only to reduce the system costs per kWh, but also to turn wind power generation into a technology that is socially embedded and able to contribute to local employment. In the study, it is assessed how and to what extent locally manufactured small wind turbines (1-10 kW) can contribute to the electrification of South-Benin.
The study is prepared on behalf of CTCN, the Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN) and the Ministry of Energy/Directorate General of Energy of Benin.
The study shows that nearly 90 villages in Benin’s southernmost departments of (with over 200.000 inhabitants), can be supplied with electricity from small wind turbines. For this, a production capacity of 7,7 GWh per year will be required, which is equivalent to between 1000 and 5000 turbines in the range of 1,5 – 6 kW. Although the sector’s initial steps in the small wind domain will be strongly reliant on import, many of the required skillsets and materials can potentially be covered by one or more Beninese companies in the short-to-medium term (2020-2025). Small wind turbines are expected to be cheaper than diesel generators and comparably priced or slightly more expensive than solar PV.
The development of a sector from the ground up requires concerted efforts in which not only industry, but also government, academia and civil society work together to generate momentum. The action plan therefore makes a distinction between four pillars: sector programming, targeted implementation, coalition building and knowledge development. Four time horizons are distinguished: very short-term (2018-2019), short-term (2020-2021), medium-term (2022-2025) and long-term (beyond 2025).
On the 4th of October the book ‘Products that Flow’ by Siem Haffmans is launched at the InnovatieExpo in Rotterdam. The first copy has been handed over to the Dutch state secretary Stientje van Veldhoven.
PRODUCTS THAT FLOW is an unusual book about common things that surround us every day. Fast-moving consumer goods, such as food, packaging, disposables, fashion, cheap gifts and gadgets. How can we deal with this huge amount of products in a more sustainable way? Our main challenge is to slow down and make our products last longer. Than we have to organize the flow and design our products in such a way that they can be easily transported and recycled or to render it harmless.
This book offers a wide range of practical examples and points different ways to managing the flows that currently often are out of control. It is a field of concern that many share and for that reason is destined to turn into fertile soil for improvement.
On Thursday July 19, the second validation workshop on the manufacturing of small wind turbines in Benin will take place. The final feasibility study and concrete action plan are presented and participants will discuss the results in working groups.
Benins energy sector
The Government of Benin is looking for ways to provide its population with the energy needed for socio-economic development. Small wind turbines, as a renewable energy technology, have the potential to play a key role in this. Partners for Innovation conducted a feasibility study and proposed an action plan for the development of this sector in Benin.
The workshop starts with presentations and discussions about the status of Benin’s energy sector and joint implementation of the country’s energy policy. Then, the workshop zooms in on small wind turbines to discuss the results of the feasibility study and action plan. In working groups, the participants will make recommendations on social, economic and political issues pertaining to the role of small wind turbines in the electrification of Benin.
The first workshop took place on 30 November and 1 December 2017, with more than 40 stakeholders taking part. They discussed the role that small wind turbines can play in the energy supply of Benin. Based on their feedback, the current strategy and action plan has been set up. Read more about this workshop here.
As of 1 April, Ingeborg Gort-Duurkoop has become a partner at Partners for Innovation.
Ingeborg has been working at Partners for Innovation since October 2011 as a consultant for sustainable innovation. With over 12 years of practical experience as a design manager and consultant, Ingeborg trains and supports companies and especially chains in the field of integrated sustainable product development, circular design strategies and business models. Focus within her work is on closing the plastics cycle.
As a partner, Ingeborg will continue her work in this area with great enthusiasm.
The network AgriProFocus Niger, in collaboration with its partners, organizes the third edition of the fair on financing agriculture. The FinAgri 2018 will take place on 12 and 13 April in Niamey, Niger. Partners for Innovation hosts the AgriProFocus network in Niger.
FinAgri aims to improve the financing of promising agricultural networks by establishing relations between financing institutions and actors in the agricultural sector.
Specifically, this means:
Share information and experiences on FISAN.
Exchange knowledge of the experiences and opportunities of financing value chains by banks and MFIs.
Exchange knowledge of the main agro/sylvo/pastoral networks of Niger including on the NGOs, OPS and other actors supporting the agricultural sector.
Exchange on links in the agricultural value chain and understand their financing needs.
Link promoters of promising value chains with banks and microfinance institutions.
Commit to working together and create a regular dynamics of information exchange on the financing of value chains.
RVO and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs have commissioned a market study into the opportunities for Dutch renewable energy companies in Zambia. Expected publication/presentation date for this study is early April, with a view to a possible trade mission to Zambia and Zimbabwe later in the year. We would like to get in touch with Dutch renewable energy companies that are interested to further expand their activities to the Zambian market. These companies will be invited to an informative networking meeting on doing business in Zambia, and their input will be used to determine the contents of the trade mission.
So, is your company working in the field of sustainable energy and potentially interested in doing business in Zambia?
Please fill out your contact details in this form or click here to send an e-mail. We will then contact you as soon as possible.
Zambia is a politically stable country, endowed with a wide range of renewable energy resources and rated very highly in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business’-monitor. At the same time, both the population’s access to electricity and electricity tarrifs are low, while blackouts frequently leave businesses and higher-income residential areas to secure their back-up energy requirements with expensive diesel gensets. However, electricity prices have recently increased with 75%, economic growth is strong and stable, and in coming years Zambia will receive a lot of support and funding from international programs focussed on renewables.