A new Women’s Business Fund is to stimulate clean energy businesses by women in the ECOWAS region. Set up by ECREEE and supported by the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation and Development (AECID) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), it will help cut barriers to business enterprise by women.
Women’s groups active in the gender and energy field will be screened for financial support for energy projects. Selection criteria are devised with the assistance of energy ministries in ECOWAS member states.
The fund will help successful participants upscale existing energy projects and will also provide technical assistance for designing new projects.
Its aim is to ensure women entrepreneurs help solve energy problems in the region while gaining skills that empower them economically. The fund is one of five ECOW-GEN initiatives. The underlying principles of ECOW-GEN recognise the underutilised potential of women as producers and suppliers of energy. The programme also acknowledges that SE4ALL goals in West Africa will not be fulfilled unless women are empowered in this field. These principles are based on the ECOWAS Gender Policy, which emphasises the need to “develop policies and programmes to provide alternative energy sources which would contribute to women’s health and also alleviate their time burden.”