West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2) Workshop
Project Development & Financing Workshops were held for short-listed projects participating in this year’s West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2)
KING FAHD PALACE HOTEL Dakar, Senegal: 27th February 2015
BEST WESTERN PREMIER HOTEL Accra, Ghana: 26th March 2015
The purpose of WAFCEF-2 is to identify and nurture entrepreneurs, start-up companies and existing companies with promising clean energy projects by linking them with investors and financiers. West African businesses selected through the Business Plan Competition will receive free mentoring to help them polish their business plans, develop convincing investment pitches, and formulate a commercially, financially, socially and environmentally viable growth strategy that in turn will significantly enhance the possibility of obtaining financing.
Two workshops were organized by the Climate Technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN) with its partners the Regional Clean Energy Investment Initiative (RCEII) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), AfDB/SEFA and ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).
The workshops were sponsored and funded by USAID. The workshops were designed to provide expert inputs to the short-listed project developers on the development and structuring of their projects and the preparation of bankable business plans and investor pitches from professional advisors, clean energy investors and commercial banks.
The organization of the workshops also marked the beginning of intensive one-on-one coaching to the project developers. The project developers will receive coaching on finalization of investor ready business plans, among which around 10 projects will be showcased to targeted investors at the West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2). WAFCEF-2, which seeks to match promising clean energy projects from West Africa with investment and financing, is scheduled to take place on 17th September 2015 in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire.
In all, twenty projects located inSenegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Benin, were short-listed to participate in the WAFCEF-2 process after a regional call for proposals for renewable and clean energy projects. The launch of the call in August 2014 attracted 50 proposals from ECOWAS countries of West Africa. The projects were selected on the basis of their commercial viability, stage of maturity, growth / replication potential, technological, product or services innovation and interest for investors as well as their potential to produce clean energy sustainably and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while achieving other environmental and developmental benefits. The projects seek to raise finance for deployment of a range of clean and renewable technologies including biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy efficiency, hydroelectric, wind and solar, waste to energy and Hybrid.
The aim of the workshops was to provide project developers with an understanding of the expectations and requirements of different investor types and the requisite tools and information to prepare bankable business plans. Each project developer was given an opportunity to provide an elevator pitch for the project and received immediate feedback from the PFAN mentors. It also provided a useful forum for the project developers to interact and benefit from the views of other participants from various countries working on different but related technologies.
The full day event was organized into 4 sessions. Session one was used to introduce participants to the CTI PFAN program after partner messages were delivered by USAID, AfDB, RCEII/Nexant and ECREEE. There were 29 participants in each workshop.
Session 2: A key feature of the workshops was the 5 minute presentation (investor pitch) by each developer followed by an interactive group discussion. Empanelled members of a group made up of developer, assigned mentor, peer developers and other resources persons critiqued the presentation, drawing out its strengths and weaknesses and offering constructive feedback. Emphasis were placed on the revenue model, ability to scale, value proposition to prospective investors as well as risks and mitigation.
Session 3 focused on educating participants on key elements of business plans. To put things in perspective, participants had the privilege to hear from investors/financiers on what aspects of business plans and or other criteria that they use in making funding decisions. The presentations by the investors reinforced that made by CTI PFAN resource persons on the elements of a successful business plan.
A Q & A session allowed participants to share ideas and ask questions. This opportunity was used to clarify comments, answer questions including issues that may not have been adequately covered in the presentations. It was also used to gather feedback from the participants on how best to organize future events.
Session 4: The events ended with networking reception to allow for participants to interact, share ideas and also allow for one on one discussions between resources persons and developers. Below are sample comments by participants.
Comments by Participants at the Workshops:
・I find the CTI PFAN process most rewarding. As a clean energy startup, we couldn’t hope for a better way to access information and prepare us for the tough challenge ahead of us. The CTI PFAN process has given us the privilege to harness our potentials and increase our capacity to achieve our potential as a renewable energy company
・CTI PFAN gave me more insight in the investors view
・The contribution of the CTI PFAN process to our project has been phenomenal. It has enabled us to identify the key attributes that are required in developing a bankable project.
Summary and Conclusion
In attendance were all project developers and coaches. The workshop marked a successful kick-off of the coaching phase of WAFCEF-2. There was satisfaction with the progress of activity in West Africa.
The outcomes can be summarized as:
-Coaches were prepared and briefed
-Deliverables and timelines of the coaching process were set and agreed
-The coaching process was officially launched
-Project developers got a chance to present their proposals and coaches managed to get a briefing and a feel of what to expect.
Events were successful and objectives and set targets were met. There was great cooperation from the organizer, coaches, project developers and invited guests. Above all the active support and involvement of ECREEE, USAID/Power Africa, ACUMEN and AfDB/SEFA are highly appreciated.
We would like to express our gratitude to all participants once again.