16 October 2017 | Article
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) strives to help its member countries formulate long-term capacity building responses integrated into national policies and processes. As the beacon for renewable energy across the world, IRENA is in a unique position to accelerate and sustain renewable energy in industrialised and developing countries. It fulfils this role by acting as the global voice for the industry and as the main port of call for advice to developing countries and by providing an information and network hub for national, regional and global programmes. In recent months, IRENA has held a number of consultations with member countries to ensure it better responds to their needs.
In April 2015, IRENA and ECREEE established an ECOWAS Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility whose aim is to provide “mentorship” support and advisory assistance to small and medium-sized renewable energy (particularly Solar PV) entrepreneurs on matters related to technical issues (system sizing, installation guidelines), business management and operations, project proposal refinement as well as supporting entrepreneurs to successfully bring their innovative ideas to fruition. The Facility is based at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In July 2015, the Facility was expanded with the funding from Luxembourg Government and a second component is now housed at the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI) in Praia, Cabo Verde. The Facility has a Technical and a Steering Committee, whereby the Technical Committee evaluates the applications for assistance submitted to the Facility by ECOWAS-based entrepreneurs, and the Steering Committee provides direction and assesses the quality of work undertaken. Both committees comprise of funding organisations, regional NGOs, financial institutions and representation from the regional association for solar entrepreneurs.