The West Africa region offers potential to support sustainable water and energy-efficient innovations and approaches in agri-business. It benefits from a young and dynamic population eager to showcase its entrepreneurial innovation capacity. In a regional context often marked by conflict and climate stress, it is even more important to harness this potential to ensure food security, job creation and climate adaptation. Action must be taken now as climate change is threatening to exacerbate issues. The region has been identified by the IPCC as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. Extreme weather events are expected to increase, as well as a rise in temperature, uncertain precipitation trends, heavy rains, extreme droughts, deforestation, soil and coastal erosion, or sea level rise. These will have dramatic impacts on ecosystems, water resources, agriculture, but also on infrastructures and human health if effective measures are delayed.
Regional Innovation Hub
Additionally, West Africa´s population is expected to increase by nearly 90% by 2100, which will further increase the need for food and put additional pressure on natural resources.
75% of ECOWAS’ exports are fuels coming from extractive industries, while cocoa and food preparations account for 5% of its exports. Ivory Coast, where WE4F is based, is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans with 40% of the world production. The West African region has a great potential for sustainable energy innovations: wind energy in coastal areas (Cape Verde, Senegal, Gambia, and also Mali, Nigeria and Ghana), small-scale hydropower in the South (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Togo, Sierra Leone), solar energy in the North (Niger, Burkina Faso, northern parts of Ghana and Nigeria) and biomass resources are well distributed across the region.
Energy and water are at the centre of sustainable development. There is a need for climate-friendly, water- and energy-efficient technologies that enable innovation to produce more with less. West Africa therefore seeks to strengthen its resilience and adaptive capacity in the agriculture water and energy sectors. The private sector is a key player in these developments, in particular local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that develop and distribute innovations tailored to local needs. WE4F will support these SMEs to offer them the opportunity to scale up their businesses and develop their entrepreneurial capacity while having a positive impact on local communities by increasing a sustainable food security.
- Supporting the distribution of innovations (solar technologies, apps, e-mobility, energy efficiency etc.)
- Strengthening entrepreneurial capacities
- Informing end users and multipliers about innovations
- Improving accessing to financing for innovators and end-users
- Improving political conditions for innovations
- Accelerating the exchange of experiences on the local, regional and global level
In order to achieve its objectives, the PEEPA/WE4F project implements various activities, such as funding companies in agribusiness through PPPs to help them switch to green energy and a more efficient use of energy and water, supporting innovators through grants and technical advice; setting up demonstration projects with enterprises, universities, NGOs, etc.; collecting and disseminating the results of demonstration projects; and developing and implementing exchange formats to adapt framework conditions.
We empower selected innovators in West Africa by strengthening their management and business skills through trainings and therefore supporting them in upscaling their innovations. Further, we support additional companies through public-private partnerships in adopting more sustainable processes. To facilitate access to innovations, we improve suitable financing options for both companies and end users by developing new financial instruments and training financial actors.
We organise trainings in West Africa for end users and multipliers in different aspects of resource-efficient agriculture and food processing. We also set up pilot projects and demonstration sites to showcase technological innovations.
In order to ensure an enabling environment for innovative solutions to upscale, we work on improving political and sectorial conditions by consulting policy-making processes. Further, we strengthen regional and global exchange on the interlinkages of water, energy and food by sharing lessons learned and organizing events.
The Team in West Africa
The West Africa Hub, based in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), has as its main mission to disseminate climate-friendly, water and/or energy-efficient innovations on a large scale in West Africa, including in Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Togo and Nigeria and of course Ivory Coast. These innovations will enable agro-food companies and the agricultural sector to produce more food with less water and energy while promoting renewable energies.
Luca is an idealist passionate about sub-Saharan Africa, behavioural economics, sport of all kinds, and effective altruism. He is from Italy. He previously worked on water management in Niger, on energy access in Brussels, and on multidimensional poverty in rural Uganda. He holds an MSc in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford, UK.
Hannah graduated from a Master of Arts in Development Management from the Ruhr University Bochum in 2016 after writing her thesis on ‘Food sovereignty in urban areas. Promoting marginalized communities through urban gardening. A case study of George, South Africa.’ She then started interning at GIZ for the Kompetenzcenter Ländliche Entwicklung und Ernährungssicherung, Fach- und Methodenbereich and became a consultant for the organisation in 2018. She began her work for WE4F in April 2020.
Michel Peudré Digbeu
Michel holds a Water and Environmental Engineering degree with a specialization in Water and Sanitation from the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and a RETscreen Certificate Expert: Analysis of renewable energy systems from the International Institute of La Francophonie and Sustainable Development (IFFD). After completing his final internship, Michel worked as an environmental consultant at the African Cabinet for Environmental Studies in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). In 2017, he took on the role of controller of village hydraulic works at Gauff Ingénieure in Abidjan, then worked as a consultant in civil engineering & health, safety and environment within the Afrique Energie Bâtiment Industrie group in Abidjan (Ivory Coast). After that, Michel worked for 2 years as Environmental Policy Officer at the Nitidae Association on the Agrovalor project: energy recovery project from agro-industrial waste. Since April 2020, Michel joined GIZ as Technical Advisor of the Water and Energy for Food project in West Africa.
Zie Gaston Dohfere Coulibaly
Zie obtained a professional bachelor’s degree in financial accounting in 2014 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in financial accounting, auditing and management in Abidjan. From 2013 to 2019, Zie held various positions within the Association de Support à l’Auto Promotion Sanitaire et Urbaine (ASAPSU) in partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency for Tabou refugees, as purchasing manager and logistics, as a delegate for income-generating activities and as an accountant. After briefly working as a purchasing assistant at Tedis Pharma CI between May and June 2019, Zie has been working as an accountant for ASAPSU San Pedro in partnership with the UNPD since July 2019.
Yannick Abraham Stephane Aka
Yannick holds a Master’s degree in English with a major in American Civilization at the University of Bouaké. After working as head of monitoring and evaluation and of research monitoring-evaluation in NGOs working in the health sector (Association pour la Santé et le Développement Lakota-Divo and Renaissance Santé Bouaké), he was recruited by the Investment Promotion Centre in Côte d’Ivoire as a research officer in the Business Environment Department in charge of the implementation of Business Climate Improvement Reforms for Côte d’Ivoire. Yannick is passionate about comedy, music and sport.
Gertrulde graduated from the University of Cocody in 2006 with a DEUG 2 in Economics and Management. Gertrulde has worked as a cashier Management Assistant at the Shalom School Group and also at KGI (Investment Company). She was also a sales assistant at the PAKO Gourmand pastry shop which has now become PAUL Vallon. She joined WE4F in November 2020.
Nicole started her training programme as an administrative officer in GIZ in 2013 and then specialized in the field of finance starting from 2015. She has so far worked for different agricultural projects in Bonn, Tbilisi and Lomé. Nicole joined the WE4F Team in Abidjan in September 2021. She is interested in photography and likes hiking.
Amanfou Claudine Loa
Claudine holds an engineering degree in Marketing/Communication from the Abidjan School of Commerce and Management (ECG). After several professional experiences in different fields, including monitoring, development and technical support to agricultural cooperatives, small and medium enterprises on development projects at the Centre de Demonstration et de Promotion de Technologies as a sales and marketing manager. Claudine worked as a technical advisor for enterprise development and sustainability for the NGO PSI with USAID
funding. Developing innovative business models and supporting programme implementation is her area of expertise. Claudine worked as a consultant for UNICEF-NIGER in the development and implementation of a programme on sanitation marketing. As a film enthusiast, it is important for Claudine to achieve the objectives in order to add value to the development of the society. With the WE4F project, this will be possible, however, Claudine is very afraid of mice.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you do, you will succeed.” Albert Schweitzer
Lucia is a landscape architect with a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management. She gained academic and professional experience in Mexico, Guatemala, France, Germany, as well as in East and West Africa. She currently pursues a degree in Ecology and training in Arboriculture. Lucia has worked for different international organisations on sustainable wastewater management, sustainable land management and ecosystem-based adaptation. Since 2018 she provides support in communication and project management for GIZ and other international organisations, including editing and translation work, data management, visualisations and cartography.