Amsterdam, 15 April 2016 – In a joint effort to mobilise key decision makers as well as institutional and business representatives to further investments in off-grid renewables in the developing world, the Alliance for Rural Elecrtification (ARE) and the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) organised a high level investment forum in ING Headquarters and the Bijlmer Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 12-13 April 2016.

The forum was attended by more than 250 participants from the private sector, financiers and development partners. It opened with the announcement of the launch of ElectriFI’s first call for proposals on Friday, 15 April 2016. The CEO of SEforALL and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Rachel Kyte also delivered a keynote speech appealing to investors and financiers to help de-risk, unlock and amplify investments in renewable off-grid projects.

Rachel Kyte, CEO of SEforALL and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General: "Decentralised renewable energy will be essential if we are to close the energy access gap. With advances in technology and competitive prices, we now need to support leaders to introduce policy reforms and unlock the finance to bring power to the people."

Frederik van den Bosch, EDFIMC / ElectriFI: "Thank you ARE for bringing together your members and other relevant parties in the field. It is only through face-to-face encounters that you create a basis for further cooperation. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of good presentations and networking opportunities to further discuss."

While aiming to inspire key players in the sector to up investments in clean electrification markets, the Forum equally gave recognition to companies and organisations, which have made special contributions to advance the development of the rural electrification sector in the past.  At the occasion of its 10-year anniversary, ARE celebrated it first Awards to honour the passion and strong efforts of Phaesun (Private Sector in Developed Countries), Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Limited (Private Sector in Developing Countries), OFID (NGOs & Foundations), Kenya (Government in Developing Countries) and the European Commission DG DEVCO (Multilateral & International Organisations.

Caroline Nijland, ARE Vice-President: “We are delighted about the high commitment of the private sector as shown during this Off-Grid week in Amsterdam to effectively facilitate energy access in developing countries by sharing best practices and learning about engagement possibilities. The Forum has shown clearly that there is a strong need for better solutions for risk-sharing, adequate resourcing and incentivising policy conditions to allow the private sector to get fully engaged. We would like to thank ING Bank N.V. and the European Commission for their support to realise this Forum.”

Building upon the strong foundation created by discussions and announcements of Day 1, the second day of the forum, which was hosted by RECP, provided a structured platform for participants to come together to talk business. The structured B2B and matchmaking session in the afternoon featured about 180 parties engaged in more than 620 direct meetings.

Michael Franz, RECP Programme Manager: “Africa’s energy markets are not only tomorrow’s growth markets – the time for action is actually now, at this time of conjecture of political will and technology readiness. In particular, the off-grid sector is finally experiencing the much-needed uptake in attention, and also in investment. We are committed to support our partners and the industry to the best of our abilities.”