African Rural Energy Enterprise Development (AREED)

Was a 10-year initiative to support the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Africa that specifically targeted access to clean energy


In 2012, UNEP DTU completed a study into the outcomes, barriers and prospects for energy SMEs in four of the AREED countries (Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia), and in close collaboration with the respective AREED Centres (Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment (KITE),  ENDA Énergie (Senegal), Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organisation (TaTEDO) and Centre For Energy, Environment and Engineering Zambia (CEEEZ). The study found that, while a number of successful energy SMEs had been established and continued to operate, some of the basic conditions that hinder enterprise development, especially the difficulty of obtaining affordable finance, remain.

The first phase of AREED (2000 – 2008), in partnership between UN Environment, UNEP DTU, E&Co, the UN Foundation and five African Centres (in Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia) provided enterprise development services and financing to a variety of enterprises involved in the delivery of clean energy.

A subsequent second phase, AREED II, funded by Sida (the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency) and completed in 2012, extended the approach to energy end-use and micro-finance institutes, following the recommendations of the AREED I terminal report.

As a final activity of AREED, loan funds that were repaid by successful enterprises in the first phase, are now being channelled back into supporting social energy enterprises in the five target countries.

Business plans for these enterprises have been developed in collaboration between the five AREED Centres and local actors, and the seed funding is being disbursed to the approved enterprises in the first half of 2018.

This project contributed to Sustainable Development Goals


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Focus area: Business Models and Markets, Developing private sector analysis and business plans

Country / Region: Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Zambia

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James Haselip

Senior Researcher

Phone: +45 3036 3444
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