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Three African enterprises up for global green energy prize

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Three African enterprises up for global green energy prize Three pioneering African enterprises have been selected as finalists for this year’s Ashden Awards, the world’s leading green energy awards, ahead of an awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 22 May 2014. Each stands to win up to £40,000 and global recognition as one of 2014’s sustainable energy leaders.


Off.Grid: Electric is bringing pay-as-you-go solar power to the poor in Tanzania with mobile money. SimGas, also in Tanzania, is manufacturing and selling easily installed biogas plants that help householders manage cow manure and provide clean fuel for cooking. And Francis Kéré from Burkino Faso has designed school buildings that are naturally cooled, making it easier for children to study.


Off.Grid: Electric (www.

Off.Grid: Electric is a leader in the field for using mobile money to sell solar power as a daily service at an affordable price. But service doesn’t just mean the power itself. It also means exceptional customer service, including an all-day customer care telephone line and on-going support from a local agent. With more than 14,000 homes taking up its service so far, as fast as systems are manufactured they are off to customers – thanks to a sophisticated app-based customer registration and product tracking system.


SimGas (

Brothers Sanne and Mirik Castro are selling biogas plants that help people manage manure and produce clean gas for cooking instead of charcoal, helping reduce deforestation. The plants are factory-produced and made of plastic, so they can be installed much more quickly than conventional plants and reach many more thousands of people. The company has just installed the largest plastic injection-moulding machine in East Africa, creating potential to roll out biogas across East Africa.


Kéré Architecture (

Originally from Burkina Faso, Francis Kéré, has designed and built schools and other public buildings in Burkina Faso and the rest of Africa that are naturally cooled, removing the need for air conditioning. The first school his firm built is the primary school in his home village of Gando, in Central-East Burkina Faso. Built by local people, and largely with local materials, the school’s ventilated roof and other clever design features provide a much cooler environment for children to study in. Kere has given a TED Talk about his story.


Said Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden Founder Director:

“Africa is bursting with sustainable energy creativity: from using mobile banking to increase access to solar power, to building naturally cooled public buildings. All three African finalists are inspiring examples of how sustainable energy can change lives.”


Now in their 14th year, the Ashden Awards celebrate pioneering businesses and organisations that are helping tackle climate change and improve people’s lives.


The other finalists for the 2014 International Awards are: Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise, Mera Gao, Greenway Grameen, Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise, Infosys, Rajasthan Horticultural Development Society and Proximity Designs.


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