Energy Access Ventures held an evening event on the night of Thursday 3rd November 2016 at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Nairobi, Kenya. The primary goal of the event was to highlight the work that Energy Access Ventures has done and the fund’s impact in Africa through its portfolio companies. We were delighted to welcome all our friends: energy start-ups, investors, government officials, members of the diplomatic community, members of finance institutions, members of our limited partners – Schneider Electric, Proparco, CDC, European Investment Bank and OFID.
H.E. Antoine Sivan, the French Ambassador stated that EAV’s approach will help scale up innovative business models. He was pleased to note that the EAV initiative is fully aligned with French activities in Africa in the energy sector. Thanks to EAV, significant resources are made available to support renewable energy and climate friendly projects.
H.E. Nic Hailey, the British High Commissioner, spoke about the opportunity for Africa to leapfrog a generation of technology. The developed world had to use fossil-fuel power stations and grids before they used the renewable energy technology. Africa can move straight to renewable energy.
H.E. Stefano Dejak, the European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya, noted that supporting the sustainable development of Africa is a very important priority to the European Union.
European Investment Bank is a core investor in Energy Access Ventures and Ms Catherine Collin, Head of Regional Representation Eastern and Central Africa at European Investment Bank, declared that EIB is keen to see EAV help to bring access to energy to more people in Africa. Christophe Poline who is the Sustainable Investment Manager at Schneider Electric stated that he was proud to be associated with EAV which is not only an innovative company due to its focus on impact investment but it is also the first energy venture capital fund to be on the ground in Africa.
EAV’s Managing Partner Michael Gera emphasised on the importance of bringing access to reliable energy or its benefits to sub-Saharan Africa as there are 620 million people in Africa who do not have access to electricity. This implies that children cannot study after dark unless they light a kerosene lamp which frequently causes fires, which in turn causes injury and inhalation of toxic fumes. The lack of access to electricity also implies that investments in the region are limited as businesses cannot run efficiently. Therefore, for Africa to attain its development goals, access to energy has to be one of the main priorities for the continent.
After the speeches, the guests were entertained by H_art the band, a Kenyan music band that is well known for their song Uliza Kiatu (ask my shoe). We were delighted to see everyone at the event and the presence and support of the attendees helped to make it a great success.