KENYA: 2 solar energy providers awarded for their impact on refugees

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KENYA: 2 solar energy providers awarded for their impact on refugees ©UNGCR KENYA

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) announces the results of a competition organised with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support growth in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps in Kenya. The winners of the competition include two clean energy providers.

Six companies are winners of the IFC/AECF competition in two categories. The two solar energy providers came out on top in the Private Sector Window (PSW) category. Renewvia Energy Kenya, a subsidiary of the US-based Renewvia Energy. The company is very active in Kenya through its solar mini-grid electrification projects. Renewvia Energy Kenya wins the competition together with Sunken, a company based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, and providing solar energy for lighting and water pumping.

Both clean energy providers are awarded in the PSW category, along with beekeeping equipment supplier The Hive and Ziwani Poultry Enterprises, a distributor of chicks and ducklings. The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and investor Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) are organising the competition through Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF). The competition is organised in partnership with the Turkana County Government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to fund businesses that support development and job creation in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee hosting areas of Turkana County.

Funding the winning businesses

“The winners of the competition have identified real market and development opportunities in Kakuma that build on the extensive research and enabling work carried out by IFC and AECF in the region. The winners’ innovative business models are expected to have immediate and long-term positive impacts on the people living in the Kakuma refugee hosting area,” says Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC’s Regional Director for East Africa.

Read also- KENYA: Renewvia commissions 3 mini-grids in Turkana and Marsabit Counties

The Kakuma and Kalobeyei camps are home to 300,000 refugees, including 200,000 asylum seekers, fleeing political instability in South Sudan. Kalobeyei has already benefited from a solar mini-grid installed by Renewvia Energy Kenya in June 2020. Together with the other winners, Renewvia will have the opportunity to become a commercially viable and sustainable business with the support of KKCF.

Technical assistance

The fund set up by IFC and AECF supports businesses that have the potential to increase incomes, provide goods and services, create jobs and improve the living standards of refugees and the host community in Turkana County. According to the AECF, the funding will be combined with technical assistance that will provide the winning businesses with additional skills and knowledge to help them strengthen their operations.

The IFC and AECF also plan to launch the local business development window before the end of September 2021. The third in the series of Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund competitions will focus this time on supporting local businesses and social enterprises based in Turkana County.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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