Ashden Awards 2020 Finalists: African Climate Innovation more crucial than ever

This week, the energy and climate NGO announced the 2020 Ashden Award finalists – 22 organisations delivering green buildings, transport, sustainable cooling and energy access. The list includes organisations working in Cameroon, Togo, Uganda, Rwanda and Egypt. The annual Awards Ceremony identifies the most exciting climate action around the world – and their work goes far beyond the awards. Ashden push for the changes needed to roll out sustainable energy solutions to those who need them most, and drive their winners forward.

About Ashden

Ashden was founded in 2001 and based in London, with a network of 225 past winners and numerous partners stretching around the world. Ashden’s mission is to accelerate transformation with climate solutions in order to build a more just world. Through a range of awards and programs, Ashden promotes and supports climate and energy innovators – including businesses, non-profits and public sector organisation. The Awards are globally recognized as a mark of excellence in the field of green energy.

It has been reported that the global fossil-fuel emissions rose by 0.6% in 2019. According to scientists, we need greenhouse gas emissions to peak in 2020 if we are to have a chance of keeping global warming within relatively safe limits. “While fighting Coronavirus is rightly the world’s priority, the climate crisis continues. But as we emerge from the crisis we have to ensure a green reboot of our economies and societies, one that puts the values of community and compassion center-stage.” Ms Lamb stated.

The Energise Africa investment platform allows anyone to buy bonds worth £50 or more in African solar businesses. There’s protection for your first £100 capital invested, and match funding from major development organisations. The platform has raised £13m of working capital so far. Meanwhile, almost one billion people – including about 600 million in Sub-Saharan Africa – have little or no access to electricity. As many clean energy enterprises and organisations on the continent now face reduced demand or investment because of the pandemic.

“It’s more important than ever that we find, fund and replicate effective climate solutions. Their success will sustain and build momentum at this difficult time. But innovators can’t flourish alone – they need commitment from policymakers and investors.” Ms Lamb stressed.

Africa’s 2020 Ashden Award finalists

Proven solutions are crucial to sustaining momentum on climate action during the Coronavirus crisis, said Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb. Ashden Award winners receive cash prize, development support, and the chance to connect with investors and leading figures in the energy and climate sectors. Established in 2001, the Ashden Awards are globally recognized as a mark of excellence in the field of green energy. This year’s winners will be reveal in summer.

Togolese Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency (AT2ER) 

In Togo, only 35% of homes have access to electricity. The Togolese Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency is working with the private sector to deliver on- and off-grid energy. Subsidies, training and new technology help the initiative target women and the poorest households.

New Energy Nexus Uganda 

Nexus Uganda
An official from New Energy Nexus Uganda with a customer at one of the shops in Uganda.

New Energy Nexus Uganda helps the country’s community-based organisations distribute clean energy products and services including stoves, lights and water filters, bringing them to some of the country’s most marginalised people. New Energy Nexus provides finance, training and a catalogue of products for organisations to buy.

Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) 

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Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch – Bee Farming at Afua

Slash and burn agriculture has destroyed large parts of Cameroon’s rain forest. CAMGEW helps local people, particularly women, become bee farmers instead – a more sustainable way of earning a living. CAMGEW provides training, organisation and equipment, and helps farmers sell their honey at a fair price.

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) 

Informal buses can be uncomfortable, unreliable and dangerous. In Kigali, Rwanda, RURA has replaced informal minibuses with less-polluting, better regulated buses. These offer ‘tap and go’ payment systems and serve more neighbourhoods. Ridership has doubled.

ECOnsult

Women-led architecture firm ECOnsult is keeping farm workers in the Egyptian desert cool. Their green village make use of shading and natural air flows to lower temperatures. These passive cooling techniques are a more sustainable alternative to air conditioning.

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ECOnsult

Read the full shortlist here

“It’s more important than ever that we find, fund and replicate effective climate solutions. Their success will sustain and build momentum at this difficult time. But innovators can’t flourish alone – they need commitment from policymakers and investors.” Ms Lamb stressed.