Simple idea with a huge impact
Africa GreenTec not only works on environmentally friendly energy solutions, but above all sees itself as a social enterprise. This means that instead of charitable donations, the company focuses on economic participation. The people Africa GreenTec wants to support should be able to run their businesses independently and not be dependent on donations of money or goods.
Africa GreenTec shows, for example in Mali, that great results can be achieved with simple ideas. Nassou Oumar from Djoliba is one of the people who obtain their electricity from an Africa GreenTec system. This has enabled him to open a restaurant. “My store has become the most popular meeting place in the village, after only four months!” says Nassou. Because he has electricity, the entrepreneur can also open his restaurant in the evening. The income he generates in this way allows him to employ six more people.
Crowdinvesting instead of fundraising
The company is currently active in Mali, Niger, Senegal and Madagascar. Africa GreenTec supports the people there with various innovations. One is the Solartainer®, a mobile solar power system that can supply entire communities with clean electricity. On the other hand, there are other energy solutions such as the
Cooltainer®. There, for example, people can store their harvests in a cool place,
which means less food spoils. The company also builds so-called ImpactSites, which smartly combine solutions for electricity production, cooling, water treatment and communication.
The projects are financed, among other things, with the help of crowdinvesting:
instead of donating to the project, people invest. Those who want to support small entrepreneurs in sub-saharan Africa in the long term can participate in the (2) development of new infrastructure through Africa GreenTec – and thus in future profits. Until now, donations were the only way for many people to support the global south. However, the company wants to realize its goals with the help of private investors in order to ensure that the local communities can manage their own affairs.
From energy transition to social change
Farmer Bara Ndiaye from N’diob in Senegal used to cultivate his fields with the help of an old diesel pump, for which he bought new fuel every three days for the equivalent of around 40 euros. These running costs have been eliminated since the installation of a solar-powered pump from Africa GreenTec. The company has built one of its ImpactSites in N’diob, including Solartainer® and Cooltainer®. Now Bara can keep his harvested tomatoes refrigerated for several days. Previously, he had to sell his entire harvest at the market in one day, sometimes at a lower price because the tomatoes would otherwise spoil. He himself previously worked in the capital Dakar for seven years, despite the high cost of living. In the meantime, he has his own farm in his home village, instead of having hardly any of his earned money in the capital. Since Africa GreenTec has been supporting his community with sustainable innovations for agriculture, Bara can see a change: “When the new technologies arrived in our village, more and more young farmers returned from the city.”
Women empowerment through electricity
Another sign that the company’s impact can be social as well as economic are stories like of Ramata Sou. She is the head of the Women’s Association of N’diob, where Bara also lives. Together with the association, Ramata has been running a grocery store for five years. “The store is the life of the town. If we weren’t here, people would have to make the arduous journey to another village just to be able to cook something for their families,” Ramata explains. Since there is electricity in N’diob, the women’s association’s store can stay open after dark and generate more profit. The 50 members of the association take turns managing the store every three months. The association provides a portion of the income to the members so that they can invest in their own business. Ramata’s colleague, board member Ndella N’diaye, explains that the store was initially run by a nonprofit organization. “But after we were able to finance the store ourselves, it’s now ours. That makes us very happy.” (3)
Still much to do
By 2030, Africa GreenTec aims to power a total of three million people on the
continent and save 1.2 million tons of CO2. The mission is well received: Around 720 people are already participating in the current crowdinvesting round, and together they have already provided more than 1.3 million euros in investment assets. On the one hand, they now have the opportunity to profit from the growing market of sustainable energy solutions. On the other hand, they can empower communities such as N’diob and Djoliba to achieve more self-determination and economic growth. Torsten Schreiber firmly believes that returns should not only be measured by the amount of money, but also by its impact: “70 percent of the people I talk to say, ‘I want my money to do good.’”
Notice pursuant to Section 12 (2) and (3) of the German Investment Act (Vermögensanlagengesetz): The acquisition of this investment involves considerable risks and may lead to the complete loss of the invested assets. The promised return is not guaranteed and may also be lower.