Innovative financing proposals and local media support for energy access were the outcomes of two workshops held in Sierra Leone to propel the Energy Revolution. At the events, Power for All brought together stakeholders to drive engagement and collaboration in support of the country’s efforts to help families and businesses gain energy access.
In the first, 25 local media houses had an opportunity to learn and ask questions about decentralized solar energy technologies and their benefits on families lives and livelihoods. The workshop was facilitated by the Renewable Energy advisor to the President, Mr. Serry-Kamal, and also saw presentations by:
- Dr. Kelleh Mansaray, Head of UNIDO in Sierra Leone, on the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy
- Kevin Johnston, Renewable Energy Advisor at PRESSD, on the organisation’s schools campaigns which are enabling communities to buy clean, solar power
- Robin Mansaray, Director of Renewables at the Ministry of Energy, on the government’s work to accelerate energy access by including decentralized renewables into the energy mix
A second workshop brought together representatives from all commercial banks and micro-finance institutions in the country, officials from the government and members of the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone, as well as international investors Sunfunder, the UK Department for International Development, the World Bank and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, who gave presentations on best practices in raising finance for the sector from around the world.
As a result of discussions, a pilot financial model will be pioneered by a commercial bank, a microfinance institution and a private company in a remote village. This pilot will take into account company capitalization, consumer financing and FOREX hedging in order to help decentralized clean energy products reach the rural poor.
Ami Dumbuya, Power for All Campaign Manager in Sierra Leone, said: “Commercial banks and micro-finance institutions will be important catalysts of the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution, and they have a unique role to play in unlocking investment that will enable millions of people to access modern solar technology. Bringing together key stakeholders to discuss energy access financing has led to innovative ideas and solutions which we are excited to explore and develop over the coming weeks."