Workshop on Women´s Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Energy in Africa held in Gabon

UNU-GEST, in collaboration with UN Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Iceland, UN Women and  Pan African Climate Justice Agency (PACJA) is organizing the workshop “Women’s Entrepreneurship on Sustainable Energy” in Libreville, Gabon during the Sixteen Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN 16) on 13-14 June 2017. UNU-GEST Head of Research Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir, joined by Hildigunnur Engilbertsdottir from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will travel Gabon to organise and moderate a workshop the main purpose of which is to identify the main challenges faced by women enterpreneurs in the emerging African renewable energy market and to provide recommendations for inclusion in the AMCEN outcome document. 
The workshop comes at the opportune moment when the continent is gearing up to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and achieve the global Sustainable Development Goal’s 2030 and Continental African Union 2063 development agenda through integrated approaches of innovative solutions, all of which have gender-sensitive components.
The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Energy workshop is being held back-to-back with the AMCEN-16 to bring to light the role that women can play across the energy value chain to expand economic opportunities and alleviate energy poverty.  The convening of experts from 16 countries is expected to inform AMCEN-16’s key messages and recommendations for incorporation into the AMCEN outcome document. The workshop aims at identifying the main barriers and challenges that hinder the establishment growth and development of women entrepreneurs, including micro- to small and medium sized enterprises, serving the different markets, including last mile energy market. 
An action framework will be developed to outline different approaches for  women entrepreneurs to access technical and business skills and know-how; build technical competencies in sustainable energy technologies (e.g., clean cook stoves, bio briquettes, solar home systems and solar lanterns, biogas units, and community micro and mini-grids); utilize existing distribution networks; and gain access to start-up and working capital. By focusing on enterprise creation across the value chain, with a particular focus on gender equality, communities in rural and peri-urban areas across Africa will begin to enjoy the benefits of access to sustainable energy at an accelerated pace.
The outcomes of the workshop are moreover expected to inform AMCEN 16’s key messages and recommendations for incorporation into the 2017 AMCEN outcome document.  Specifically, this will lead to gender equality concerns being included in the 2017 AMCEN action agenda on gender and sustainable energy as well as the project pipeline of the UN Environment Africa Office in order to accelerate sustainable energy for all in Africa, in particular at the national level.