Community and Knowledge Exchange are at the heart of the SESA Project. Given its multiple thematic areas and experts from different fields and countries, a lot is to be learnt from each other and shared as widely as possible to strengthen global and local capacities for the implementation of sustainable energy projects. Therefore, as part of WP2 which focuses on capacity building, online Community of Practices will be launched and maintained to strengthen the capacities of decision makers, practitioners and businesses in sustainable energy in Africa.

The Community of Practices will serve as platforms to share knowledge and best experiences, identify experts to answer queries and maintain a network of relevant actors, organizations and businesses on sustainable energy development. This will help countries to increase confidence into developing sustainable energy solutions, through:

  • Peer-to-peer exchange on lessons learnt through pilot projects
  • Formal & informal dialogues between various projects to facilitate spill-over of knowledge
  • Networking with other related initiatives in the region
  • Facilitate scale-up and replication of projects in other countries across Africa
  • Develop policies, business models and financial schemes
  • Strengthen capacities for the implementation of sustainable energy projects in Africa

The first of these communities focusing on electric mobility and batteries has been launched end the end of 2022 under the coordination of UNEP. The objective of this community of practice is to bring together consortium members and partners working on topics regarding E-mobility and batteries in Africa to enhance knowledge exchange and project implementation.

The Community of Practice is linked to UNEP’s Africa Support and Investment Platform for E-mobility which supports countries and cities in Africa with the shift to electric mobility through developing projects, sharing knowledge and building capacity for their implementation as well as creating opportunities for wider uptake and financing of electric mobility in the region. Its objective is to become the leading electric mobility marketplace in Africa where potential project concepts meet and match potential financiers and technology suppliers. 

The community of practice on electric mobility and batteries is already over 280 people strong and growing. In 2022, four trainings took place on the topics of 1) E-mobility standards and regulations, 2) E-mobility polices and strategies 3) Electric vehicle battery management and end of life treatment, and 4) Integration of electric vehicles and electricity grids. This year the first in person event will take place in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) on 20-21st March with a focus on financing of electric mobility and circular management of batteries. More information on the event will soon be available here.

With support from the community, SESA partners and other relevant actors on the sustainable energy solutions ecosystem SESA will provide more than 250 tools and knowledge products on the topics of electric mobility and batteries in Africa and globally.

The community of practice on electric mobility is open and running. If you would like to receive regular updates on its activities and trainings, kindly send an email to

Boosting accessibility to affordable renewable energy in Africa: Four African SMEs emerge winners of SESA ‘Call for Entrepreneurs 2022’

Boosting accessibility to affordable renewable energy in Africa: Four African SMEs emerge winners of SESA ‘Call for Entrepreneurs 2022’

Siemens Stiftung on behalf of the Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA) consortium is excited to announce the winners of the “SESA Call for Entrepreneurs 2022”.

Launched in September 2022, the open and competitive call for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focused on Productive Use of Energy (PUE) solutions in Ghana, Malawi, Morocco, and South Africa.

The inaugural call for entrepreneurs encouraged women-led enterprises to apply, resulting in over 30 percent of the total applications coming from female founders.

Meet the winners

  • Econexus Ventures Limited (Ghana) a female-led enterprise co-founded by Patience Alifo, provides affordable, reliable, and clean-burning bioethanol and cookstoves as alternatives to polluting cooking fuels.
  • Nastech Power Solutions (Ghana) founded by Samuel Asare, develops affordable, reliable and durable solar energy solutions from electronic waste and recycled plastics.
  • Smart Energy Enterprise (SEE) (Malawi) under the leadership of Gift Mwangairo offers solar-powered irrigation systems, customised advisory services and access to markets for smallholder farmers.
  • GREEN Solar Academy (South Africa) is a female-founded independent training provider of solar PV systems, envisioning to make renewable energy accessible for all Africans. Antje Klauss-Vorreiter is the CEO of the enterprise.

The four winners obtain sub-contracts from €50,000 up to €70,000 per business over 18 months, with the aim of validating selected proof of concepts and business models for up-scaling. Beginning at the end of February 2023, they will join the SESA Incubator Programme: receiving mentoring and tailored growth support and capacity-building programmes to prepare them for follow-on funding and to strengthen the financial sustainability of their enterprises. They will also benefit from the consortium partners’ diverse expertise, experience, and networks.

“Empowering entrepreneurs to increase the use of renewable energies will drive sustainable development and catalyse a more equitable and prosperous future for all. My heartiest congratulations to all, we are particularly delighted to have two promising women-led enterprises amongst the winners”, added Dr. Nina Smidt, Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Board at Siemens Stiftung.

The European Commission-funded SESA project aims to ensure the applicability, replicability, adaption and scalability of innovative business solutions across Africa. A SESA expert jury selected the four enterprises after screening close to 100 applications based on their replication potential. Under its overarching vision of energy access for all, the winning solutions seek to enable economic growth along with creating jobs and contributing to low-carbon development.

SESA Project Coordinator and ICLEI Europe Representative, Magdalena Sikorowska welcomed the four companies into the SESA Consortium: “Your contribution and expertise will accelerate the implementation of clean energy projects and improve the socio-economic conditions of local communities. Within SESA, we aim at empowering entrepreneurs and developing local innovation!”

About Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA)

SESA is a collaborative project between the European Union and nine African countries (Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Nigeria) that aims at providing energy access technologies and business models that are easily replicable and generate local opportunities for economic development and social cohesion in Africa.

Through several local active labs, it is expected to facilitate the co-development of scalable and replicable energy access innovations, to be tested, validated, and later replicated throughout the African continent. These solutions will include decentralised renewables (solar photovoltaics), innovative energy storage systems including the use of second-life electric vehicle batteries, smart microgrids, waste-to-energy systems (biomass to biogas), climate-proofing, resilience and adaptation, and rural internet access.

About Siemens Stiftung

As a nonprofit foundation, Siemens Stiftung promotes sustainable social development, which is crucially dependent on access to basic services, high-quality education, and an understanding of culture. To this effect, their project work supports people in taking the initiative to responsibly address current challenges. Together with partners, they develop and implement solutions and programs to support this effort, with technological and social innovation playing a central role. Their actions are impact-oriented and conducted in a transparent manner.

The SESA Info-spots: Bringing education closer to the communities

The SESA Info-spots: Bringing education closer to the communities

SESA is a project, which aims at providing energy access technologies and business models that are easily replicable and generate local opportunities for economic development and social cohesion in Africa. However, one of the questions we asked ourselves is “How can we get information on energy to people who do not have access to the Internet?” and that’s how the initiative of deploying the SESA Info-spots was born.

Africa has about 20% of all landmass of the world and  to cover large areas makes installation of broadband challenging and expensive. Given the lower income in rural areas, the gap between available funds and costs of access is huge. As a result, schools are not connected, areas are uncovered and the majority of people in South of Sahara Africa (SSA) have no access to the Internet.

The energy sector is currently undergoing a major shift, and in response, SESA is taking action to ensure that individuals have access to the information and resources they need to expand their knowledge on the subject. To achieve this goal, SESA has developed a unique solution: the deployment of wireless information hubs, known as Info-spots, which offer free, comprehensive information on energy for all those who seek it.

Empowering Communities through Renewable Energy Outreach: A Dual Approach

In its ongoing efforts to promote renewable energy, the SESA project has been exploring the most effective ways to reach and educate individuals. To achieve this goal, the project has pursued two main strategies: The integration of Info-spots alongside energy installations such as solar panels in micro-grids, providing both access to energy and information on energy. And, the connection of schools with the goal of incorporating energy education into the school curriculum, fostering a new generation of informed energy consumers. Through these efforts, SESA is working to create a more sustainable future, one community at a time.

Catherine Kimambo from Basic Internet and her team from African Child Projects establish the antenna to reach the far away Internet at Mpirani School

This initiative focuses on connecting schools, where the Basic Internet Foundation establishes a pole with a directive antenna, a local network control centre (LNCC) and a school server.

The image shows how poles are installed with the antenna to reach out to mobile towers as far as 20 kilometres away.

Typical range of mobile towers is 7-9 kilometres, and by lifting the antenna to 6 metres, the length of the water pipe, and by adding the directive antenna the range can be doubled. Thus, able to provide access to information in areas where “nobody believes that you can connect”.

SESA is committed to making a lasting impact in the field of renewable energy, and a crucial part of this mission is ensuring widespread access to information.

As part of this effort, the organisation has set an ambitious target of deploying at least 80 Info-spots across 9 African countries, which are partners of SESA. Of these, 12 Info-spots will be situated at the SESA living lab sites, while the remaining 68 will be installed at schools, bringing energy knowledge to communities and the next generation alike.

Addressing the Challenges of InfoSpot Implementation through Regional Competence Centers

Our aim is to establish Regional Competence Centers (RCCs) within academic institutions to address the numerous challenges in the creation of InfoSpots. These challenges include building regional competency, recruiting personnel for installation, providing community training on how to use the InfoSpots, and ensuring the affordability of a typical 10-20 GB data package at a monthly cost of 20 USD.

Dorothy Makala engaging her co-students for configuration in the re-energise session.
A typical configuration session at the RCC, where the students unpack the received devices and start the configuration. Basic Internet, in collaboration with University of Oslo (UiO), has established courses and instructions for the configuration, as well as the infrastructure needed to operate the Info-spots. 

Community-Led Efforts to Bring Internet Access to Rural Areas

Addressing the global climate crisis requires action from everyone, and Africa is no exception. One critical aspect of this is the transition to renewable energy. However, this transition must be grounded in empowerment and education. The disparity between the cost of access to information on energy and affordability presents a challenge, making InfoSpots with free access to this information a crucial starting point. This free access to information provides a foundation for communities to make informed decisions and chart a course towards a more sustainable future.

 Jovina Theobard from African Child Projects teaching boys at Mawenzi School in Tanzania

Installing Info-spots in rural areas is a collaborative effort that brings people together in a shared mission to bridge the digital divide. From the configuration work carried out by students at Regional Competence Centers (RCCs) to the hands-on training provided by community members, the installation process highlights the importance of community engagement. The real highlight is when the pole is set-up, serving as a visible symbol of the school’s connection to the Internet. This sight engages all students and is a source of pride for the entire community.

 Community engagement – all hands are needed to establish the pole for the antenna

Access to information is the first step in empowering communities and promoting positive change. In rural areas, this is particularly important for school children who go home and share their newfound knowledge with their families. One example of this is the story of Cysticercosis, a tapeworm found in Africa, which a daughter learned about in school and was able to share with her father. By spreading awareness and educating communities, we can make a real impact in promoting better health and hygiene practices.

Thanks to the co-sponsoring from Vodacom Foundation and the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF), Basic internet Foundation is able to sponsor some schools with tablets to enhance wireless access. 

 Catherine Kimambo and students at Stagell enjoy yet another school being connected

Stay tuned with SESA to learn more about co-installations and the uptake on energy information. Learn how to get involved here.

Africa-Europe SESA incubator program is looking for regional mentors in Africa!

Africa-Europe SESA incubator program is looking for regional mentors in Africa!

Target countries: Ghana, Malawi and South Africa

5 mid-stage start-up companies will be financially supported under European Union (EU) funded SESA project through its incubator programme.There is an opening for up to 2-3 regional mentors who have experience working with start-ups in the focus countries.

5 start-ups will focus on:
Solar solutions for irrigation and buildings, Waste-to-energy solutions and off-grid energy solutions with battery storage (it would be a big plus if mentors have experience in these focus areas).

Mentoring duration:

March 2023- June 2024 with defined number of sessions which will be agreed between selected mentors and the startups. Mentors will collaborate with European mentors for guiding start-ups.

Compensation & mentoring plan:
This will be clarified during mentor interviews. This is not a permanent position but a time-limited one. Why apply: Visibility in multiple African countries and in Europe, access to a wide European & African network of experts, mentor promising energy-related start-ups and work in a top awarded EU-AU collaboration projects.

Expected competencies of mentors:

  • Previous experience on mentoring Start-ups.
  • Ability to deliver hands-on-support.
    Positive attitude, open-mindedness, strong communication and presentation skills, and ability to influence and inspire.
    Have extensive networks (both local and regional) in the energy sector and with potential investors.
    Added advantage of having domain specific knowledge in areas like sales, strategy or marketing.
    Ability to communicate both in English and local languages.

How to apply

Please send your interest and CV via email to Sanket Puranik