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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
21 mei 2005

Electricité de France provides 400.000 poor with energy profitably

This series of seminars on doing business in developing countries is organised by the NCDO, P+ Magazine, and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). Professionals and entrepreneurs present sustainable and potentially profitable cases, for which they are seeking partners. Previous seminars have functioned as a kind of brokerage, immediately leading to new partnerships. At the seminar on energy, co-organised by JEPP (Johannesburg Energy & Poverty Platform), cases will be presented on solar energy in the Philippines, small scale hydro in rural areas in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, and small scale solar for urban and rural water and electricity in South Africa. Amongst the guest speakers is Sarah Adams of Electricité de France. Through its Access Programme this French company has created or supported projects which have provided almost 400,000 people in developing countries with energy. She will talk about creating a successful business model. Another expert with a lot of experience in this field is Paul van Aalst of E+Co, an international company providing business development services and loans or equity investments. Van Aalst, asked by P+ what obstacles have to be dealt with, states: "Let me start by making clear that the demand for energy in developing countries is much higher than the supply. So, for an entrepreneur there is a market of consumers who are willing to pay. People are glad to get rid of their candles, firewood and charcoal. But there are also risks for entrepreneurs, caused by a hampering economic and financial infrastructure. And since in most developing countries energy is a government service, an entrepreneur will inevitably meet with a lot of red tape. On top of that, foreign entrepreneurs will have to adjust to cultural differences and will have to build a completely new network." Nevertheless, he is convinced that, under the right financial conditions, setting up an energy business in developing countries can be commercially viable. Whoever is interested in more details on his experiences in countries like Honduras and Ghana can apply for the English spoken seminar on June 1 in Amsterdam. P+ Webtip: Apply for the BID-Conference