NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15- The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched the second round of a special funding window that aims to encourage business ideas in the clean energy sector.
The Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT R2) looks at the development of innovative ideas in the supply of low cost, clean energy to rural households and businesses and solutions that help small-holder farmers adapt to climate change.
In addition, it also encourages solutions that increase financial services in support of clean energy and climate adaptation solutions.
AECF REACT R2 will co-fund successful applicants with grants and repayable grants of between Sh23.3 million ($250,000) to Sh140.2 million ($1.5 million).
“In order to qualify the business ideas must demonstrate a positive impact on the rural poor in Africa, deliver increased employment and income, reduce costs and improve productivity,” said AECF Director Hugh Scott.
Scott noted that the recently concluded first round of REACT was very successful with 21 businesses across the East African Community awarded over Sh1.4 billion ($15 million) for their innovative projects.
“We are delighted about the outcome of the first round of REACT and now look forward to a highly competitive second round. Through the REACT competition, the AECF aims to catalyse private sector investment in low cost clean energy and climate change technologies,” he said.
Scott further noted that REACT R2 is particularly keen to encourage business ideas that have an adaptation to climate change focus.
This includes ideas that take place in vulnerable ecological zones, such as arid and semi-arid areas. The director went on to challenge the private sector to “rise to the opportunity afforded by the AECF REACT fund and to respond with innovative business ideas that will impact on the lives of our rural people.”
AECF REACT is a competition, open only to for-profit making companies that include both African and International companies but the proposed projects must take place in one or more of the East African Community countries- Burundi, Kenya Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The AECF REACT Window is funded by UKaid, through the Department for International Development, and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Other major funders of AECF are the Australian Government Aid Program, The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, The International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.