In a bid to fast-track energy transition in Africa, the European Union is funding the Digital Energy Facility, a program championed by the French Development Agency to launch two calls for innovative energy projects.
The competition will commence on the 6th April, 2021, and will involve start-ups operating in the energy, digital, as well as public service operators.
This initiative called the “Digital Energy Challenge” involves start-ups in the continent in the seed phase and operating in the digital and energy ecosystem. The purpose of the challenge is to support the scaling up of their innovations, or the digital transformation of their business, to enable better energy access and services for the grid and the general public.
The DEF program will also target start-up projects providing grid services, innovative and clean energy solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as innovative digital solutions for electricity access companies.
The African continent is resolutely dedicated to its energy change, and the choice of clean energy and the implementation of decentralised solutions have a major impact on the electrification process of the continent.
The initiative is also open to public electricity operators as the DEF program targets innovative partnerships between public electricity operators and private energy sector counterparts to help local operators test and disseminate digital innovations with the help of technology and service providers.
The AFD explains that the aim is to improve access to electricity on the grid and for end consumers. For electricity utility operators, the DEF program will target energy projects that contribute to universal access to electricity, quality of service management of the grid, as well as the integration of renewable energy into the grid.
Within the framework of the Digital Energy Challenge, the European Union is providing the AFD with a budget of 1.5 million euros and the funds will be used to support the selected energy projects through grants for the purchase of equipment and software, the financing of training and even recruitment for energy start-ups.
The program also offers technical assistance in the form of project management support, the provision of strategic and technical expertise or specific support in accounting and reporting.
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