The new COSME European project, AEWEN for African-EU Water and Energy Network) whose aim is to develop and implement a joint internationalisation strategy to help European SMEs go international in three specific selected African countries, (Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia) and help respond to the African demand for green Energy and water solutions, has started.
The AEWEN Project will last 30 months, up to March 2024.
On September 16th, the 4 clusters officially launched the beginning of the project with a warm zoom conference.
Help respond to the African demand for green solutions
According to the International Energy Agency, the rapid economic and population growth in Africa will have deep implications for the energy sector. This trend, together with the falling costs of key renewable technologies, will lead to a new period of dynamism among the African policy makers and the African business communities, opening to new avenues for innovation and growth. At the same time the investments from public and private agents related to achieve water supply, sanitation and water resources management SDGs goals targeted in Africa, creates new opportunities to EU companies to collaborate with the local organisations to achieve those goals. That gives Africa a huge potential related not just to energy transition but also to innovations in the water sector. Both energy and water infrastructures are closely related and, in many cases, local public authorities and/or agencies are responsible for both infrastructures and provisions.
3 African countries partners
Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia have been selected as the three target countries for the project because of their expected growth in the renewable energy sector and a good ranking in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” 2020 study.
- Morocco is aiming for 52% renewable energy by 2030 (vs 34% today) and has launched a Priority Programme for Drinking Water Supply (which will allocate more than 10 billion of euros between 2020 and 2027) and ranks 53 out of 190 countries worldwide for Ease of doing Business.
- Tunisia is aiming for 30% renewable energy by 2030 (vs 3% in 2019). In addition, it has a great need for investment in the water sector (e.g. in 2020, the Tunisian authorities signed contracts of 38 M EUR with European Investment Bank, and more investment in the water sector is expected in the coming years). Tunisia ranks 78/190 for Ease of doing Business.
- Senegal is aiming for 30% renewable energy by 2025 (vs 22% today) and ranks 123/190 for Ease of doing Business.
4 experienced European clusters
Within this context, the AEWEN project integrates four well established European clusters specialised in complementary areas of energy and water. These four clusters have previous experience in international projects and share a common vision of internationalisation services to support their SMEs. The involved clusters are: Tenerrdis as coordinator of the project and based in Grenoble, France, ENVIRONMENT PARK based in Turin, Italy, the Catalan Water Partnership (CWP), based in Girona, Spain and based in Liège, Belgium.
The previous track record, the activities carried out in Africa and the already existing connections in Africa give the clusters the needed experience to execute this new project. All together, they are involving more than 400 European SMEs.
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