The Schneider Electric has confirmed that its two projects in the concept of Business and Innovation for the People at the Base of the Pyramid (BipBop) access to energy programme scale through in the “Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development” which took place in Paris on 4 and 5 December 2013.
NaijaAgroNet reports that this forum was initiated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prompted by the Deputy Minister responsible for Development, Pascal Canfin, in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD).
The “Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development” aims to highlight innovative concrete examples and practical solutions on a national or local scale, in such varied fields as health, the environment, agriculture and food safety, education and new technology.
In addition to the entrepreneurial nature and economic viability of these innovations, their contributions to sustainable development and their social and environmental dimensions will be recognized. The event follows on from the Development and international solidarity forums, closed on March 1st 2012 by the French President. It is evidence of France's support, via the AFD Group, for the promotion of innovative sustainable development in Africa.
Two projects developed by Schneider Electric in the context of BipBop, its access to energy programme, were selected from the 100 projects presented, namely the “Energy and Microfinance” project in Cameroon and decentralized rural electrification project at Abu Monkar, Egypt.
NaijaAgroNet further reports that “Energy and Microfinance” project in Cameroon was sponsored by the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA) association, in collaboration with Schneider Electric and the MIFED in Cameroon.
This project consists of offering micro-credit solutions in rural and urban areas to finance the purchase of solar solutions. Such schemes, NaijaAgroNet gathered, could boost the economic development of individual tradesmen and small businesses.
Schneider Electric provides solutions which meet the needs identified by microfinance institutions (MFIs) and uses its local partners (distributors, integrators, installers) to assure the customers of these MFIs of the availability of these affordable solutions, combined with a quality service.
The customers of these MFIs are offered two types of credit: “light” credits which offer low-energy solar lighting systems; and “energy” credits, designed to provide solar solutions suitable for the needs of an income-generating activity. This project has also been initiated in Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Also supported by Schneider Electric, the decentralized rural electrification project at Abu Monkar in Egypt project paved the way for development of the first solar power plant built in the Egyptian province of New Valley.
The solar power plant at Abu Monkar, built more than 75 miles from the nearest grid, delivers 108 kWh/day, enough to meet all the village's basic needs (school, mosque, homes, etc.). Schneider Electric also trains the residents of Abu Monkar to ensure optimal operation and maintenance of the power plant.
"The strength of the BipBop program relies on the combination between the R&D capabilities of Schneider Electric and the engagement of our local employees who all know perfectly their own countries’ problematic and ecosystems. Answering the rural energy challenge is key both for the continent’s economical development and for the people who directly benefit from light, from a better agriculture, education or healthcare. It is an exciting challenge and I think all our employees who made these two BipBop projects happen can be very honored and proud to see their efforts recognized by the French government," said Mohammed Saad, President of Schneider Electric in Africa.