The energy sector of sub-Saharan Africa is not yet able to meet the needs and aspirations of its citizens, with almost 600 million people lacking access to electricity. Only seven countries — Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal and South Africa — have electricity access rates exceeding 50 percent. The rest of the region has an average grid access rate of just 20 percent. We believe this challenge is surmountable and the benefits of success are immense, as increasing access to reliable energy can turbo-charge economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa which is already home to several major energy producers, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The use of modern renewables is growing in Africa, and fostering this growth is imperative as African countries are in a unique position: they have the potential to leapfrog the traditional centralised-utility model for energy provision. This partnership allows us not only to seek the new breed of “solar-preneurs” who have identified renewable power as the solution, but also to support them in deploying modern renewables to eliminate power shortages, bring electricity and development opportunities to rural villages that have never enjoyed those benefits and support sustainable growth for increased prosperity across the continent.
Seedstars World – a global startup competition, discovering and connecting the most promising seed-stage startups of the emerging world – will be seeking out the most promising energy entrepreneurs on the continent, while Enel, through its renewable energy division Enel Green Power, will contribute with its expertise as global power utility fully committed in boosting innovation and sustainability in the energy sector. Together we have the opportunity to strongly support the growth of African energy startups.