Call for Proposals for Women-led Sustainable Energy Enterprises in West Africa, Investment of Up to USD 50 Million

The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), and the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) have launched a call for proposals for women-led sustainable energy enterprises in West-Africa. Women-led businesses employing clean energy solutions to facilitate women’s economic empowerment in the ECOWAS countries and seeking investments of up to USD 50 million are invited to apply. Deadline is the November 20, 2017.

At least 10 projects or businesses will be selected and receive coaching support from experienced professionals for the development of a financially, socially and environmentally sustainable business plan, which will play a crucial role in subsequent investor outreach. Upon the completion of the coaching phase, the projects will be introduced to interested investors, and receive follow-up support and deal-making facilitation. PFAN and CTCN will work closely with female-led climate and clean energy businesses in the ECOWAS region to leverage their expertise as agents of change.

This initiative is part of the CTCN/ECOWAS Project on Mainstreaming Gender for a Climate-Resilient Energy System in West Africa, where 15 west countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) are now putting women at the forefront of their energy strategy as active agents to develop and enable access to climate friendly energy throughout the region.

The goal of this Call for Proposals is to facilitate the initiation and management of commercially viable energy projects by women entrepreneurs, and to provide the entrepreneurs with the technical, financial and other skills needed to be competitive as energy producers and suppliers. The ultimate aim of the Call is to further economic and social gender equality and enhance women’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Selected projects should contribute to women’s economic empowerment through productive uses of energy, by helping to increase the productivity levels of women in agricultural, commercial and tertiary practices through the increased use of renewable energy technologies; building the capacities of women and especially women farmers to use and maintain clean energy technologies; and raising awareness and educate the public on the use of renewable energy for poverty eradication at the household level and, more broadly, for rural development.

This project and the call for proposals support the Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access, which was adopted by the Heads of State of Economic Community of West-African States (ECOWAS) on the 4th of June this year and aims to ensure at least 25 percent female participation in energy-related fields in the private sector by 2020.

The Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) offers free coaching and investor matchmaking to promising climate and clean energy businesses in low- and middle-income countries. PFAN manages an extensive pipeline of investment-ready projects, and has leveraged over USD 1.2 billion in financing for those projects since its founding in 2006. Since 2016, PFAN is hosted and managed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).

The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) fosters technology transfer and deployment at the request of developing countries through three core services: technical assistance, capacity building and scaling up international collaboration. The Centre is the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism. It is hosted and managed by United Nations Environment and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and supported by more than 300 network partners around the world.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is a specialised agency established to promote sustainable energy markets and technologies in the West African region. ECREEE’s work contributes to the sustainable development of the ECOWAS region by improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services. Through its Gender and Energy Programme (ECOW-GEN), ECREEE works to ensure that West African women are made an integral part of the region’s strategy to address its energy challenges.


This Call for Proposals is focused exclusively on gender mainstreaming. In order to be considered eligible, projects and / or businesses must be operating in the ECOWAS region in countries listed under Annex 1 and satisfy at least two of the following criteria:

Female entrepreneurs;

Significant proportion of female ownership;

Significant female representation in senior management;

Significant female representation throughout the workforce;

Significant benefits to women in economic, social and climate terms.

Businesses and projects with higher female proportions and representations across the above criteria and fulfilling multiple criteria will be considered more favourably.

Focus of Call for Proposals

The project / business must promote or use clean energy and climate technologies, products or services, including, but not limited to:

Proposals in the following technology areas:

Biomass Distributed & Off-grid Generation
Biogas Energy Storage & Conservation
Bio-fuels Energy Efficiency and Demand Reduction
Solar Waste to Energy
Wind Emissions Reduction
Hydropower Clean Transport

Submission of Applications and Supporting Material

All submissions are to be made online through PFAN’s Climate-Invest Management system. Applications sent via Email are not eligible.

In order to be considered, applicants must complete the following 3 steps:

~ Registration through the online PFAN Climate-Invest Management System

~ Completion of the online Application Form in the PFAN Climate-Invest Management System

~ Submission of a Project Proposal and supporting documents through the online PFAN Climate-Invest Management System.

More detailed information about the process can be found in the Prospectus of the Call for Proposals

Please note the project proposal document to be uploaded should be in MS Word format, and should not exceed 20 pages including the cover page, contents, charts, and tables. Shorter documents are preferable to longer ones. Page setup, spacing, font size and type face are at your discretion but the document should be reader friendly. A maximum of 3 annexes may be used to provide additional information (e.g. the cash flow model in MS Excel format) provided that these do not exceed a further 10 pages of written information or the combined data volume limit. The total data volume of all files submitted to PFAN should not exceed 20 MB. PFAN reserves the right to not evaluate any proposals which exceed the data limit or the page limit.

Please register here:

Applications must be submitted by 6 p.m. CET (Central European Time) on 20 November 2017 via

Participants selected to advance into the next round will be notified by 15 January 2018. Immediately following this notification, organizers will work with the selected participants to arrange the agreed coaching support for the next stage of the Initiative.

Disclaimer: PFAN is using Climate-Invest, a grant management portal to manage the PFAN project pipeline. However, PFAN does not provide any form of grant and offers technical assistance only.

For additional questions regarding registration and applications, please approach:

Selected projects will have a coach assigned according to their needs and requirements. They will receive the following PFAN services:

One-on-one coaching up to an agreed time / monetary value as negotiated between the PFAN management team and the nominated coaches.

Coaching will be provided by industry experts, consultants, advisors, as well as other members of the PFAN Network.The nominated coaches have extensive experience in providing advisory services to clean energy businesses across the globe.

Coaching input will be provided by e-mail and telephone exchange between the parties.

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