African women attending the ongoing 3rd UN environment assembly also known as UNEA-3 had cause to erupt in rapturous applause as the long-awaited energy entrepreneurship framework for women was launched.

President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and Gabonese Minister of Forest, Sea and Environment, Moubelet-Boubeya launched the African Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF) on the side-lines of the Global Science Business Forum at the ongoing UNEA-3 holding at the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya.

The AMCEN President, who was represented by Alice Kaudia, Kenya’s environment secretary who stood in for Prof Judi Wakhungu, Minister of environment and Natural Resources said the launching was in fulfillment of the AMCEN decision on investing in innovative environmental solutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and AU’s Agenda 2063.

According to the minister, the energy entrepreneurship framework will “empower women to engage in accessible, sustainable, affordable and clean energy development and use.”

“We the African ministers for environment are committed to finding innovative environment solutions and we pledge to provide the necessary support to this initiative,” she added.

Following the successful launch of the African Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF), participants at the pre-UNEA-3 event committed themselves to promoting the interpretation of the Libreville outcome statement on Women entrepreneurs and sustainable energy in Nigeria.

The 10-point commitments, according to UNEP’s Meseret Zemedkun, commit the participants to integrating AWEEF’s vision and values into Africa’s energy stakeholders initiatives; developing programmes and projects in clean and sustainable energy and energy services that are inclusive; developing integrated approaches to creating, social, economic and environmental solutions that will facilitate the achievement of global and regional development frameworks, and deploying AWEEF’s framework to mobilise resources for the implementation of projects, and programmes identified at national and regional levels.

Other commitments include encouraging multilateral and financial institutions investments in Africa with a view to appropriating financial resources to women-led, decentralised renewable energy solutions with favourable access modalities; using AWEEF’s framework to coordinate the existing and potential initiatives to build strong partnerships and synergies; provide leadership and incentivize women to be actively involved in the whole energy chain; and promoting enabling policy mechanism informed by gender analysis and age disaggregated data to accelerate the sustainable growth of micro, medium and large women-led enterprises across the energy value chain.

The members of the framework which include representatives from African governments, private sector, civil society, research institutions, women entrepreneurs and youths further commit to move from commitment to implementation in the field, complemented by robust monitoring systems; and endorse the diversity of all stakeholders while integrating progressive opinions in to the implementation process of the Libreville outcome statement.

A pollution-free vehicle for African women

Against the backdrop of significant health and safety challenges African women face in their relentless quest for energy to meet household demands and the widespread energy poverty across the continent, AWEEF recognises women as powerful agents of change in the transition to clean energy.

The energy entrepreneurship platform seeks to empower women as essential drivers in the ride to reduce green house gas emissions and lower global warming.

According to Zemedkun, “AWEEF is the vehicle African women will use in playing the change agent role across the energy value chain.”

“AWEEF will address the challenges and barriers that hinder women empowerment in the energy sector as well as implement innovative solutions that will turn around Africa’s energy story,” she added.