ARGeo - “Catalyzing investment for Africa’s Energy Needs!”


Unlocking Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Energy

June 13, 2017 – A workshop bringing together more than 100 women energy entrepreneurs, including experts in energy policy, financing, and capacity building, from various parts of African countries opened today in Libreville, Gabon. The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Energy workshop brings to light the role that women can play across the energy value chain to expand economic opportunities and alleviate energy poverty. UN Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Iceland, United Nations University Gender Equality and Studies Programme (UNU-GEST), UN Women, and Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), joined forces in organizing the workshop alongside the Sixteenth Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN 16).

Opened by Ms. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo - UN Environment Director and Regional Representative for Africa, it aims at identifying the main challenges that hinder establishment, growth, and development of women entrepreneurs - micro to medium sized - serving the different markets including the “last mile” energy market.

Major players of this workshop are women entrepreneurs from sixteen African countries (selected on the basis of geographical distribution and on-going work to promote women energy entrepreneurs), development partners and stakeholders working on gender and sustainable energy issues, policymakers and environmental/energy experts, financial institutions (local, regional, and global), and other representatives from private sector.

The workshop will proceed in a combination of plenary sessions and working group discussions in order to come up with innovative solutions that transform women “from traditional to technology and skill based users of clean energy”; from “user and beneficiary to Agents of Change” and “from consumer to Producer”. The discussions will focus on three main areas: (ii) Environmentally sustainable and gender responsive energy policies; (ii) Access to finance and market for women energy entrepreneurs across the value chain, and (iii) Capacity building and skills on technical and business aspects for entrepreneurs.

Outcomes of this workshop will be presented to the African Ministers of Environment and are expected to inform AMCEN 16’s key messages and recommendations for incorporation into the AMCEN outcome document. Specifically, this will lead to gender equality concerns being enhanced in the 2017 AMCEN action agenda on gender and sustainable energy as well as the project pipeline of the UN Environment Africa Office in order to accelerate sustainable energy for all in Africa and in particular at the national level.

Concept Note