top of page

News & Insights

Davos_Quadrat.png

Feb. 2024

What will climate change cost us?

By 2050, the increasing incidence of climate-related natural disasters such as heatwaves and floods could result in economic losses amounting to 12.5 trillion US dollars. To put this into perspective, this corresponds to around three times the annual economic output of Germany.

These costs of climate change have been calculated by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with the international strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman. What's more, global warming could be responsible for the deaths of 14.5 million people by then. The report "Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health" was published at the recent WEF summit in Davos.

 

Of the weather events analyzed, floods are likely to pose the highest acute risk of climate-related deaths of 8.5 million people by 2050. Droughts are the second most common cause of death. Heatwaves, which represent a prolonged period of extreme temperatures and humidity, are estimated to cause the greatest economic damage by 2050, with an estimated USD 7.1 trillion in lost productivity.

Floods, extreme drought and the spread of infectious diseases

While the economic damage is likely to be most pronounced in Asia and Europe - not least due to their economic strength - flooding will hit people in the regions around the equator, such as Central Africa, the hardest. As a result, infectious diseases such as malaria will also continue to spread. "Malaria in Central Africa in particular is expected to have a malaria in Central Africa in particular is expected to have a significant economic impact, costing around 345 billion US dollars to the healthcare system and 151 million DALYs - years of life lost or impaired by disease.

 

Empowering Africa - Africa must be strengthened

The consequence of this is that healthcare systems worldwide must become more climate-resilient. The WEF expects that additional costs of 1.1 trillion US dollars will have to be borne. For Africa, the poorest continent in terms of the average income of its population, this is another heavy burden. Africa also lacks the necessary resources to provide people with the right care and support quickly after extreme weather events. The infrastructure is inadequate in many places and medical equipment is scarce. This makes the continent particularly vulnerable and unable to adapt quickly to climate change.

Solar energy for Africa therefore not only means clean energy, which makes an important contribution to the fight against climate change. Solar also provides reliable and cheap energy that can improve the competitiveness of African companies and promote growth and prosperity.

Wahu.jpg

Feb. 2024

Wahu! Mobility - The triple-impact e-bike from Ghana will be produced with solar power in future

E-mobility is also a megatrend in Africa. The sustainable and affordable mobility provided by the Wahu! bikes and the associated app open up several job markets and are intended to give women in particular access to the emerging gig economy. Today we introduce you to the Ghanaian entrepreneur, her ideas and the investors behind the mobility start-up, which will produce solar power in the future.

This week, we signed a contract with Ghanaian e-bike manufacturer Wahu! Mobility for a 42 kWp system on the factory premises in East Legon in Accra. The plan is for the system to be built in two to three stages and be expandable up to 200 kWp. These dimensions make it clear that the boss and series founder Valerie Abena Konyo Labi has big plans. 

With her company, she wants to produce 200 e-bikes per month in Ghana's capital Accra in the future. Wahu! - formerly Mana Mobility, or Africa Cargo Bikes - designs and produces its own e-bikes tailored to the Ghanaian market and makes the fleet available to the Bolt and Glovo delivery services, which are very popular in Ghana. However, Wahu! also targets private individuals who deliver all sorts of things as couriers.


Wahu mobility


Sustainability professionals meet automotive aristocracy


The company name is a play on words in two Ghanaian languages: In Dagbani, "Wahu" means "horse", while "W'ahu" means "you have seen" in Twi. The company also brings together two spheres, namely sustainability and mobility expertise. Wahu Mobility was only founded in this form last year by Valerie Labi and former BMW manager Toni Heigl. They were backed by another German automotive expert: Peter Schwarzenbauer, former board member at Audi and BMW.

Labi, who completed her Master's degree in Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge, doesn't just want to produce e-bikes. The mother of three envisions an entire e-mobility-as-a-service ecosystem that enables customised vehicle design, maintenance and insurance and offers access to delivery orders. An African success story, the BBC has already reported on the start-up in its "Focus on Africa" podcast.

African solutions for African problems

Her company is based on her experience in Tamale, in the north of Ghana. Here, she recognised the great need for a micro-mobility solution, as logistics were unaffordable, unreliable and unsustainable. Initially, Labi, who has lived in Ghana since 2008, bought up used bicycles, converted them to electric and, from 2020, put them into use in rural areas under the name "Cargo Bikes Africa". People used them to get from A to B, but were not yet able to carry heavy loads. 

Like everywhere else in the world, the coronavirus pandemic suddenly caused e-commerce and delivery services to spring up, especially in major cities. The new "gig economy" suddenly provided jobs, at least in theory. In practice, a suitable mobility solution was often lacking. The next logical development step was to manufacture a vehicle that was geared towards the specific requirements of Africa. 

The extremely robust Wahu! bikes are cargo bikes with thick tyres and reinforced front and rear suspension, which are suitable for off-road use in both rural and urban areas. The two-wheelers have pedal assistance and a "throttle" function. They are supplied with two easily replaceable batteries, which are sufficient for a range of around 140 kilometres. Customised and developed by Ghanaian engineers, only the batteries are not produced locally. 

Rent-to-own and access to the gig economy

 

In addition to green mobility, Wahu! - as well as EWIA - is about turning its users into owners. A rent-to-own programme promotes the financial independence of bike entrepreneurs. The e-bikes cost around USD 2,000 and a financial plan provides for payment in instalments of USD 30 per week over a period of 18 to 24 months. 

The bikes are intended to generate income for women in rural regions in particular, which is important to the founder. The company thus achieves a triple impact in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Equality (SDG 5), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8) and Climate Action (SDG 13). And basically, Wahu! also makes the city more liveable (SDG 11)

A dedicated app provides drivers with information on the battery charge status, distances travelled and CO2 emissions saved (for which users even receive "carbon credits" and "loyalty points" that they can turn into money). The app also lists local mechanics and charging options for all e-vehicles available in Ghana (not just your own) on a map.

Electric power significantly reduces operating costs - and creates jobs

Labi's calculation shows that the couriers save a lot of money through the electric drive alone: delivery service drivers spend around 120 dollars on petrol per month. Refuelling with electricity, on the other hand, costs them an average of around 4 dollars per month. The massive savings in maintenance costs should ensure that delivery services (e.g. also for medicines) become attractive for both customers and drivers. Labi is thinking even further ahead and assumes that obstetricians, for example, could also significantly expand their radius of action with a Wahu! bike. 

Significant investment from the Schörghuber Group promotes expansion

 

Blue Lion, the family office of the Munich-based Schörghuber Group (real estate, hotels, Paulaner), recently invested an undisclosed and considerable sum in Wahu! The investment will be used to expand production capacity, invest in research and development and expand marketing and sales. Wahu! already operates not only in Accra, but also in Togo's capital Lomé. There are also plans to expand to the Nigerian megacity of Lagos and to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.

There is no question that a company like Wahu! needs sustainably generated and reliably supplied electricity for its production. Anything else would be out of the question for a company that enables sustainable mobility.

 

We are very much looking forward to working together and are very excited about the development.


EWIA @ WAHU Mobility

Kofi-Annan Price 2024

Jan. 2024

Fighting hunger: Kofi Annan Foundation seeks innovative African start-ups

The career diplomat Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, was a global citizen and Nobel Prize winner together with the UN in 2001 - but above all he was a son of Ghana, born in Kumasi. 

The Kofi Annan Foundation, based in Geneva, is dedicated to his legacy. As a company that is active in Ghana and also knows Kumasi well, EWIA Green Investments is both committed to and honoured to support the work of the foundation.


African solutions for 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals
 

Together with the Austrian Federal Chancellery, the foundation is organising the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa, which aims to raise awareness of the potential of African entrepreneurs to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Entrepreneurial start-ups with a proven business model and a proven social impact are invited to submit applications. The application deadline for the current round is 8 February. 

EWIA CEO Ralph Schneider has been part of an international team supporting the foundation and jury since 2021. This year, the aim is to identify innovative solutions to improve food security and the resilience of food systems across Africa. We are looking for innovative, technology-based solutions from across Africa that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG2, which is "Zero Hunger". EWIA is currently examining ways in which villages in Cameroon can be electrified. Solar power provides the basis for operating water pumps and maintaining cold chains and is therefore essential for the rural population and the fight against hunger #SDG2. "That's why I'm keen to support the Kofi Annan Foundation again this year," says Ralph Schneider.


Nine companies will be selected from the applications and invited to take part in an innovation boot camp and pitch in front of a jury. The three teams with the greatest potential receive a grant of €250,000, are presented at a public event and then supported with twelve months of training to ensure the foundation for sustainable growth. A strong network of mentors, investors and business partners will support the successful applicants.

The prize is operationally supported by the Austrian Development Agency and the Innovation Accelerator of the UN World Food Programme.


Creating prosperity in Africa


Such an award is exactly what Africa needs. African solutions for African problems, intelligently flanked by international organisations. There are plenty of innovative entrepreneurs on the continent (see Wahu! Mobility), but there is often a lack of funding and access. This is where the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa comes in. 

EWIA simply means "sun" in Twi, one of the most widely spoken languages in Ghana. However, the claim of EWIA Green Investments GmbH is already hidden in our name: Enable Wealth in Africa. So let's identify those innovative African companies that develop sustainable solutions and create prosperity. Because: By 2035, Africa will have the largest labour force in the world. By 2050, more than half of the world's population growth will take place in Africa. EWIA wants to create the energy basis for this growth with affordable, reliable and green solar power solutions.

AFSIA-Annual-Outlook-2024-cover-267x267.jpg

Jan. 2024

Solar boom in Africa fuelled by companies

The appetite for solar energy is growing worldwide and also in Africa, as the latest figures from the African Solar Photovoltaic Industry Association (AFSIA) show: with around 350 GW of installed solar capacity around the globe, the solar industry has reached a new high with an increase of 46 per cent compared to 2022. More than 3.7 GW of new solar systems were connected to the grid in Africa. This is also a new record! 

However, with an increase of 19 per cent, our neighbouring continent was unable to match the pace of global growth. What's more, South Africa once again accounted for the biggest share of newly installed solar capacity in 2023.

Nevertheless, there are remarkable things to report: Firstly, a broadening of the development can certainly be observed, even if this is still at a significantly lower level in other countries than in South Africa. Secondly, there is a clear shift from large-scale solar projects with grid connection to smaller systems for self-supply. This is the segment in which EWIA Green Investments is also primarily active.

More and more African companies are focussing on solar power

In 2023, commercial and industrial projects (C&I) accounted for a good 65 percent of all newly added solar capacity in Africa at 2,429.5 MWp, which is more than twice as much as the commissioning of large projects. On the one hand, this trend is being promoted by the high prices for electricity from the grids and the sharp rise in the cost of diesel to operate generators. On the other hand, development is facilitated by falling prices for photovoltaic systems and a growing range of financing solutions.

According to the AFSIA, what distinguishes the development in Africa from other regions of the world is that investments in electricity production from PV systems are primarily driven by business decisions. Companies invest because solar power from their own systems is the cheapest and most reliable source of energy, not because it is government-mandated or subsidised.


AFSIA is the first authority on PV in Africa

AFSIA, the Africa Solar Industry Association, is the association for solar professionals in Africa. The association is headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, and carries out solar-related activities and programs across Africa - from Egypt to South Africa, from Cape Verde to Madagascar.

AFSIA promotes the full spectrum of solar energy on the African continent, from large-scale grid-connected projects to off-grid solar systems for private households, from hybrid systems with diesel and storage to solar water pumps, solar cookers or solar water heaters.

Radach Eingang News.jpg

Jan. 2024

Tour of Radach Lodge

Radach Lodge, which has 68 rooms and several conference rooms and restaurants, is in high demand as a conference hotel. So much so that expansion became inevitable, as Kwaku Boahene Asare, General Manager of Radach Lodge, explains to EWIA Sales Director Nana Kwadwo Adu-Boateng during a tour. 

On the site, which covers 16 acres (or approximately 65,000 m2), there is now an extension under construction that will offer a further 170 rooms on six floors. This extension will be the first four-star hotel in Tamale and this is where EWIA comes in with an energy-sustainable, reliable and affordable solar solution. 

See for yourself!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coVF8qn1DAY

Radach YouTube.png

Jan. 2024

What the owner of the Radach Hotel expects from the solar power system

In Tamale, EWIA is financing, designing and installing the PV system (approx. 74 kWp) of the Radach Hotel. EWIA Sales Director Nana Kwadwo Adu-Boateng sat down with the hotel owner, Rev. Dr. Johnson Asare, and his son and successor, Kwaku Boahene Asare, to talk about what they expect from the system. 

The hotel is owned and operated by Radach Lodge & Conference Centre Ltd, which already indicates that it is a conference hotel. Many events with up to 1,500 participants take place in the large and well-booked conference hall.

According to Dr. Asare, the massive increase in electricity costs was a major problem for the hotel. To supply 500,000 to one million guests a year - the majority of whom attend the numerous conferences - he would like to see not only an affordable, but also a sustainable energy solution. 

The system designed by EWIA, which is scheduled to go into operation in summer 2024, will significantly reduce energy costs by 30-50,000 euros per year, which can be used for other purposes in future. 

The interview can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1yvugwrVTo 

1701440902IMG_5767.jpeg

Nov. 2023

EWIA to equip e-mobility provider Wahu! with solar power

E-mobility is also a megatrend in Africa. EWIA has now signed a contract with Wahu! The company plans to produce 200 e-bikes per month in Ghana in the future. The sustainable and affordable mobility offered by the Wahu! bikes and the associated app will open up several job markets and give women in particular access to the emerging gig economy. The idea was originally born in Tamale in northern Ghana. Behind the company are a smart female entrepreneur and two German car managers. The Munich-based Schörghuber Group (Paulaner Bräu/Arabella Hotels) is one of the investors.

EWIA's Managing Director Timo Schäfer and Sales Director Nana Kwadwo Adu-Boateng have signed the contract with the Ghanaian e-bike manufacturer and provider Wahu Mobility: The initial plan is to install a 42 kWp system on Wahu's factory premises! Two to three further expansion stages could soon follow in order to reach 200 kWp - because Wahu! has big plans. The company wants to produce 200 e-bikes per month in Ghana's capital Accra in the future - and that requires cheap, sustainable and reliable electricity. Anything else would be out of the question for a company that enables sustainable mobility.

Wahu Mobility was launched last year by serial founder Valerie Abena Konyo Labi with the support of two well-known German car executives, namely Toni Heigl, former BMW manager, and former BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer. 

Wahu is a Ghanaian e-mobility company that designs, manufactures, and sells electric bicycles (eBikes). Its goal is to provide clean and high-quality load-carrying transport to a broader range of people in Ghana's delivery industry, which will help boost the development of the country's e-mobility infrastructure while providing a reliable source of income for riders.

Founder and CEO Valerie Labi, an experienced impact entrepreneur, founded Cargo Bikes Africa in 2020, which merged with MANA Mobility and later became Wahu. In Ghana, she had observed that the cost of petrol and vehicles was extremely high. “We don’t produce vehicles; we import them,” she explains. “We’re always either getting second-hand vehicles from Europe or we walk. So that became my calling: to introduce new mobility solutions for both men and women.”
 

Rent-to-own and access to the gig economy
 

In addition to the green mobility that Wahu! makes possible, the company - just like EWIA - is also concerned with turning its users into owners and is therefore promoting the financial independence of bike entrepreneurs with a rent-to-own program. The e-bikes cost around 2,000 US dollars to purchase, and a financial plan provides for payment in installments of 30 US dollars per week over a period of 18 to 24 months. 

 

The extremely robust Wahu! bikes are quasi cargo bikes with thick tires and reinforced front and rear suspension, which are suitable for both rural and urban terrain and offer both pedal assistance and a throttle function. They are supplied with two easily replaceable batteries, which are sufficient for a range of around 140 kilometers per day, Labi recently revealed to "BBC Focus on Africa". Tailor-made and developed by Ghanaian engineers, only the batteries are not produced locally.

The bikes also give users and future owners access to Ghana's gig economy, as they also receive orders via Wahu! The aim is to generate income for women in rural regions in particular, which is important to the founder. 

 

A dedicated app provides the drivers with information on the battery charge status, the distances covered, the CO2 emissions saved (for which the users even receive "carbon credits" and "loyalty points", which they can turn into money), etc. The app also lists local mechanics and charging options for all e-vehicles available in Ghana (not just their own) on a map.

 

Significant investment from the Schörghuber Group promotes expansion
 

Blue Lion, the family office of the Munich-based Schörghuber Group

(real estate, hotels, Paulaner), recently invested an undisclosed and considerable sum in Wahu! The capital will be used to expand production capacity, invest in research and development and expand marketing and sales. Wahu! already operates not only in Accra, but also in Togo's capital Lomé. There are also plans to expand into the Nigerian megacity of Lagos and the capital of Zambia, Lusaka.  

 

We are very much looking forward to the cooperation and are very excited about the development.

Compact with Afrca.jpeg

Nov. 2023

Compact with Africa summit: starting signal for more intensive cooperation between Africa and Germany

The G20 initiative "Compact with Africa" (CwA) aims to expand relations between rich industrialised countries and emerging economies in Africa. To this end, political and economic heavyweights came together in Berlin on Monday. As a result, Germany wants to invest four billion euros in green energy on the neighbouring continent by 2030. Private investment is seen as the key to the development of progressive countries. EWIA CEO Ralph Schneider describes how he experienced the summit. 

Berlin was teeming with heads of state on Monday. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz received presidents and prime ministers from over a dozen African states, as well as the President of the African Union and the envoy of the President of the African Development Bank. On the G20 and EU side, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council President Charles Michel, French President Emanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, did the honours, as did Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Federal Development Aid Minister Svenja Schulze.

 

More than 700 guests came together at the Marriott Hotel in Berlin for the fourth G20 Investment Summit - German Business and the CwA Countries, which was organised by the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI). SAFRI is organised in partnership with the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the German-African Business Association.

Charity is over, German business should and wants to invest in Africa
In particular, a pledge made by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Chancellery afterwards made international headlines. Flanked by the Chairman of the African Union (AU), Azali Assoumani, and the Chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, he vowed to invest four billion euros in green energy in Africa by 2030, primarily in green hydrogen. Germany also wants to do this in order to become climate-neutral by 2045. However, it was also important "that all Africans have access to sustainable and affordable energy", the German government announced.

 

The message sent out by this summit is that when it comes to African countries, it is no longer about charity or development aid, but about investments. The Nigerian President emphasised that Africans do not want donations. The Federal Chancellor takes a similar view: "The enormous economic potential can only be realised through large-scale private investment," said Scholz.

 

Federal government wants to hedge risks
 

Chancellor Scholz emphasised that reforms are paying off, as the current 13 CwA states have grown twice as fast as other African countries in recent years. He sees considerable potential for renewable energies on the continent, but a sustainable energy supply is one of the key challenges in view of the 1.3 billion very young people on average.

But what exactly does Germany want to promote in the CwA states? Three things in particular, according to the German government: 

"Private investments are facilitated by favourable guarantee conditions. In this way, the German government is promoting diversification, i.e. the broadening of economic relations in order to be better prepared for crises.
 

African countries should benefit more from their wealth of raw materials and take the first step in processing raw materials locally. This creates jobs and prosperity there. At the same time, German industry gains reliable suppliers. The German government is working on specific funding instruments in this area.
 

There are also plans to expand support for start-ups in compact countries, especially those run by women."   
 

The guarantee conditions are an important instrument because, as the SZ states: "There are also risks with exchange rates and trade rules. That is why the German government wants to strengthen and expand mechanisms to safeguard investments, for example together with the World Bank."

 

On the panel and behind the scenes
 

In addition to the panel discussions with business leaders and heads of state such as Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu (President Nigeria), Alassane Ouattara (President Ivory Coast), Macky Sall (President Senegal),  Jean Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge (Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (President of Ghana), Faure Gnassingbé (President of Togo) and Hakainde Hichilema (President of Zambia) organised exclusive side events at the summit. 

 

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, for example, organised events on the topic of hydrogen and renewable energies, while other delegations met with their discussion partners in the hotels where they were staying. EWIA CEO Ralph Schneider met with delegations from the two strongest economies in West and East Africa, both of which showed a keen interest in organising something with EWIA. EWIA partners also met with the Nigerian Energy Minister, while a get-together with the Congolese Prime Minister fell through due to the schedule. 

Conclusion of the summit
 

The summit was a sensation and a turning point. The new African self-confidence was evident. Not only are countries such as Russia and China fiercely courting the region, but the purchasing power of consumers is also increasing, as the middle class has tripled in some countries. However, there seems to be a strong conviction that many challenges can only be solved by working together. 

XADCE3192.JPG

Nov. 2023

EWIA increases the (wo)manpower

The EWIA team is growing! You may have already noticed from looking at our website that a large number of women are employed at EWIA. A high female labour force participation rate is quite normal in Ghana, and many companies are founded and run by women. Women have a high status in Ghanaian society and they also study in large numbers. We would like to introduce two new faces to our team today. 

Afefa Akoumany and Hilda Dramani-Eshun are joining us with immediate effect. Their areas of responsibility and their respective backgrounds are different and illustrate the range of positions that are now being created and filled at EWIA.  

 

Afefa is an electrical engineer with over four years' experience in the field of solar energy. She specialises in the planning and installation of PV solar systems and is passionate about current trends in renewable energy and research. She is currently pursuing an MPhil programme in Renewable Energy Technologies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

 

Hilda is a dynamic professional with extensive experience in sales, customer service, administration and business development. At EWIA, she serves as Sales & Administrative Manager. Previously, Hilda worked as a B2B sales specialist at Estonian-based mobility provider and Uber competitor Bolt, where she demonstrated her skills in selling business solutions to small and medium-sized customers. 

Hilda's strengths include account management and customer relations, as well as business-to-business (B2B) sales, sales management, Google Workspace, customer relationship management (CRM) and direct sales.

Building bridges from Munich to Ghana.

 

Afefa recently shone at a network meeting and ambassador reception organised by EWIA. On the occasion of the visit of Dr Peter Jansens, member of the Advisory Board of Forschungszentrum Jülich (responsible for the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energies), and an associated reception, we met at the German Embassy in Accra on Thursday. The evening enabled networking in the field of "Green Hydrogen and Net-Zero-Target" and combined scientific excellence with entrepreneurship. 

 

Afefa's success in linking different disciplines is also due to her studies, from which EWIA can benefit greatly. KNUST, based in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region, cooperates with the SEED Centre of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The cooperation between the two partner universities goes so far that they recently also set up the TUM.Africa Talent exchange programme. 

 

Afefa is the local representative of the "TUM SEED Student Initiative Founder" at KNUST and was invited to the "TUM SEED Student Initiative Founder Forum" in Munich in this context. The forum, which will take place between 7 and 16 December 2023, brings together students from corresponding technical universities in the Global South, more precisely from Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia, Peru and Uganda.

 

SEED stands for "Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development" and combines the topics of renewable energies, entrepreneurship and development. The SEED Centre is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

 

We are delighted to have Afefa and Hilda on board and to be able to work with them to offer African SMEs green, reliable and affordable solutions.

RAdach Update.jpg

Nov. 2023

Update on the Radach Hotel project

With its 68 air-conditioned rooms, Radach Lodge & Conference Centre is one of the most popular conference hotels in northern Ghana. NGOs, development organisations, companies, political parties and government representatives active in the region in particular use the hotel as a location for events or national conferences. The family-owned hotel is therefore usually fully booked and wants to expand. A new building with an additional 180 beds is currently being constructed. This will make it the largest hotel in northern Ghana. The expansion is to be accompanied by modernisation, which is where EWIA comes in.

In June, EWIA signed a project contract with the operators of the Radach Hotel in Tamale, Ghana, and detailed planning has been underway since then. The contract has been signed with the general contractor who will build the 74 kW ground-mounted system. Our partner is Green Power Brains Ltd, a company with branches in Ghana and Benin and based in Munich - its founder, Michele Velenderic, is, like EWIA, committed to promoting sustainable energy solutions for the African continent with his company. Green Power Brains is a so-called EPC provider. The abbreviation stands for Engineering, Procurement, Construction, i.e. development, procurement and realisation. As a technology partner, the EPC is responsible for the installation and operation of the plant.

 

As an EPC, Green Power Brains takes over the installation and operation of the PV system.

Like EWIA, Green Power Brains is already firmly rooted in Africa and also trains local technicians. Once commissioned, the system is expected to produce around 108,000 kWh of electricity per year, which will cover around 50 per cent of the hotel's energy consumption. If everything continues to go according to plan, the plant can be commissioned at the beginning of 2024. Further expansion is already being considered. In the medium term, the hotel aims to become completely self-sufficient in terms of power supply.

Parallel to the technical implementation, preparations for refinancing the €160,000 investment are in full swing. To this end, we are setting up a new financing channel that will also enable investors to participate directly in projects. This channel is to be opened before the end of the year.

Cameroon.jpeg

Oct. 2023

Solar business in Cameroon expands EWIA's business model

Last week, EWIA CEO Ralph Schneider and EWIA CFO Timo Schäfer travelled to Cameroon in Central Africa for the first time to tackle the next stage of EWIA's development. The aim was to visit villages that SunErgy has electrified in this nation of almost 28 million inhabitants together with our partners from SunErgy and to explore opportunities for new off-grid business. We met with equipment suppliers, ministers, the president of a region, NGOs, embassy and EU representatives. A travelogue.

While EWIA addresses African SMEs and the so-called C&I market (Commercial & Industrial/ medium-sized companies) and also finances the PV of mobile phone masts, SunErgy equips entire villages with solar energy. As part of the solar alliance between KGAL, SunErgy and EWIA, we are now utilising the resources and contacts that SunErgy has built up over the years in Cameroon to finance further projects. There is still a lot to do, as almost 11.5 million Cameroonians (41%) live in rural areas. 8.7 million of them have no access to electricity. 

Our tour of the country, which has two official languages - English and French - in different regions and correspondingly different everyday cultures, took us from the former capital Douala, which is the most populous city in the country, the capital of the Littoral region and the main town in the administrative district of Wouri, via Maroua in the north-east on the border with Chad to the capital Yaoundé, which lies further inland and has a population of almost 2.5 million. 

This is what our diary looked like last week:

EWIA's diary
 

17 October, Tuesday

Arrival in the harbour city of Douala in the evening
 

18 Oct, Wednesday 

Visit to SunErgy plants around 75 kilometres north-west of Douala. Visit to three solar plants that electrify five villages.

 

19 October, Thursday 

8:00 a.m. Flight from Douala to Maroua
Visit to Solkamtech SARL, an equipment supplier (EPC) and developer, evening visit to the village of Salla for electrification (show case)
In Maroua, reception at the local ministry with the Vice Minister and the Secretary of the region. The "City Treasurer of Maroua" was also present. A 36 MWp solar park was also recently inaugurated in Maroua (read more here).

 

20 October Friday 
Meeting with the Berlin specialist for off-grid systems SolarWorx and with Solkamtech to calculate a business case and explore opportunities for cooperation
Meeting with the President of the Maroua region and his staff regarding the electrification of the region using off-grid systems

 

21 October, Saturday 
Visit to the solar system of the central hospital in Maroua, whose solar system was designed and installed by Solkamtech
16:00 Flight to the capital Yaoundé 

 

22 October, Sunday 
Meeting with the founder and managing director of the minigrid developer REI in Yaoundé

 

23 October, Monday 
Meeting with representatives of GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
Meeting with representatives of the EU in the EU building (comparable to an embassy) in Yaoundé
20:30 Return flight to Douala

 

24 October, Tuesday 
10:00 - 15:30 Meeting and workshop with colleagues from SunErgy
20:00 Return flight to Germany

 

Africa in miniature - still

 

It is often said that Cameroon is a mini-Africa because it represents all of the continent's landscapes, vegetation and climate zones. The country lies on the Atlantic Ocean, has mountains, lush tropical rainforest, savannahs and desert. A paradise with incredibly friendly people. 

 

The question is, however, how long this statement will be justified. Climate change is no longer an abstract threat in Cameroon, but has long been a worrying reality. The rainy seasons are shortening and there is less rainfall overall. This is devastating for the vegetation and the local hydroelectric power plant is only generating a third of the electricity it did last year. Solar energy can at least alleviate this electricity crisis and counteract the climate crisis.

 

Conclusion

The discussions we have had give us confidence. The potential and necessity of electrification is enormous and can only be gradually built up with private companies and investments. The political decision-makers we met were more than open to the topic of solar. Two topics dominate the political agenda: clean and safe water supply and electrification. In the Extreme North region around Maroua, for example, there are 4,000 villages of which only 2 per cent have electricity. It is high time to change this. Cameroon still has a long way to go, but there is a palpable sense of optimism and optimism despite - or perhaps because of - the challenges.

What is also certain is that we will be back!

CEI Africa 2zu1.jpeg

Oct. 2023

Up to €550,000 co-investment - EWIA and CEI Africa agree partnership to finance off-grid solar projects in sub-Saharan Africa

 EWIA Green Investments today agreed with the CEI Africa Foundation on the terms and conditions that will define the potential financing of off-grid solar projects in sub-Saharan Africa. For EWIA, the cooperation means an additional financing volume of up to EUR 550,000 in the current crowdfunding round on FunderNation - money that will support the energy transition in the region and support the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sector in the region. CEI Africa will invest on the same terms as the private investors on FunderNation.
 
The planned partnership demonstrates CEI Africa's belief that EWIA has great potential to help small and medium-sized enterprises in the region improve their power supply. CEI Africa's investment aims to stimulate additional private investment in the off-grid energy sector. CEI Africa invests at a ratio of 2:1 in addition to the capital raised through FunderNation.  This means that for every EUR 2 invested via the digital financing platform, CEI Africa invests an additional EUR 1. CEI Africa's contribution can therefore reach a maximum of 550,000 euros - in addition to the 1.1 million euros earmarked for the FunderNation campaign. The terms of CEI Africa's investment have been set out in a non-binding term sheet and are subject to CEI Africa completing due diligence and receiving final approval.
 
A significant signal of confidence in the direction of our private investors
 
"This cooperation is not only an important contribution to the further expansion of our business activities and thus to our mission of supplying companies in sub-Saharan Africa with reliable, affordable and climate-friendly electricity," comments Timo Schäfer, CFO of EWIA. "It is also a significant signal of confidence towards our private investors."
 
CEI Africa was founded in 2021 by the German development bank KfW on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to improve access to energy for rural and peri-urban households and businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. The foundation is managed by a consortium of Triple Jump B.V., Persistent Energy Capital and GreenMax Capital Group. It is a one-stop shop for mini-grid developers and other off-grid energy companies, including solar companies for the commercial and industrial ("C&I") sector, and offers a variety of financing instruments. The implementation of a crowdfunding tranche of the Foundation, which participates in debt and investment rounds in partnership with European crowdfunding platforms, is led by Persistent. CEI Africa has so far provided €28 million to support off-grid energy companies and developers of mini-grid projects through co-financing with crowdfunding providers and technical assistance.

Zablikani Homepage.jpg

Sep. 2023

EWIA finances solar plant for Zablikani Enterprise

Last Tuesday the signatures were signed: The next contract with a solar-as-a-service customer is in the bag: Zablikani Enterprise from Tamale in northern Ghana wants to make itself completely independent of the grid and diesel generators with the help of a solar system and storage unit.

Zablikani Enterprise is a steadily growing, medium-sized family-owned company that is active in plastics production. Its products include shopping bags, food carriers and bottles. Annual production is currently around 220 tonnes, with customers primarily being trading companies from Ghana and Burkina Faso. Zablikani has modern machinery and employs over 50 local workers. 

The company has recently invested heavily in expanding its machinery and purchases plastic granulate for production. A first recycling plant has recently been installed and the purchase of a second one is planned so that recycled material can be used in production. Alhaji Kabiru Ziblim and Alhaji Abdulah Ebilis, the company's two partners, have ambitious growth plans: A three-shift operation is the goal so that the machines are fully utilised. Of course, this would also mean additional jobs for the region.

The goal: to become self-sufficient in grid and diesel power with a solar system and storage facility

In addition to inflation, the high cost of energy in Ghana is currently holding back the company's faster development. An unreliable grid power supply with frequent power outages and, in particular, unpredictable voltage fluctuations jeopardise the machines and production. The company's vision is to become completely independent of the grid and diesel generators by using clean energy from a solar system plus storage.

The system designed and financed by EWIA has an output of 56 kWp and the battery storage system has a capacity of 46 kWh. The financing is designed for ten years. During this time, Zablikani Enterprise has a secure basis for calculation thanks to fixed monthly instalments. At the end of the financing phase, the system becomes the property of the company.
 

IMG-20230812-WA0005.jpg

Aug. 2023

Joyce Obodai Adjei

It is with great sadness that we have to announce today that our dear employee Joyce Obodai-Adjei has unexpectedly passed away. Especially in a young startup company like EWIA, which is characterized by optimism and growth, it is very hard to publish such sad news. This is a tough loss.  

The management and team are still devastated. As one of EWIA's first employees in Ghana, Joyce was instrumental in building up our administration and local office. Our CEO Ralph Schneider and Sales Director Nana Boateng already had the opportunity to work with Joyce at Yingli Solar and have come to appreciate her as a highly motivated and dedicated colleague over the years. Joyce was also highly respected by customers, partners and colleagues alike.
 
Joyce was 46 years old and is survived by her husband and four children. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her family. Condolences from customers and business partners will of course be passed on to the family. 

We will miss Joyce and always remember her fondly for the joy she spread. May she rest in peace. 

IMG_7532.JPG

May 2023

Press release
EWIA, KGAL and SunErgy team up to form a Solar Alliance for Africa
  • Close cooperation planned for PV and telecoms projects C

  • Poor power supply slows down growth opportunities for businesses

Munich, 16th May 2023 The three companies EWIA Green Investments, KGAL and SunErgy GmbH have reached an agreement to cooperate in several African countries in the future. The common goal is the realisation and financing of solar plants for commercial and industrial (C&I) as well as telecommunications infrastructure projects in West and East Africa.

With this cooperation, EWIA wants to support the expansion in sub-Saharan Africa. The cooperation is an important milestone in the diversification strategy of the company, which offers solar-as-a-service solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. The organisations complement each other perfectly in the realisation, financing and operation of grid-connected plants and mini-grid/stand-alone solutions in Africa.

"Germany and Europe want to import more energy produced in Africa in the future, for example in the form of green hydrogen. But the need for renewable energy is also growing in Africa. 600 million people on the continent still have to manage completely without electricity supply," says Ralph Schneider, co-founder and managing director of EWIA. "Poor electricity supply is also a bottleneck for business development, thus slowing down economic growth, the creation of new jobs and the prospects for broader prosperity."
"People and companies in Africa and Europe should benefit equally from the expansion of renewable energies," says Dr Alexander Ergenzinger, KGAL's investment manager and Managing Director of SunErgy GmbH. KGAL is one of the pioneers in financing photovoltaic plants. The first megawatt-class solar parks in Germany were financed as early as 2004/2005. "By cooperating with EWIA, we are combining forces and know-how to address the growing demand for affordable, reliable and sustainably generated energy in Africa." 


SunErgy – Solar specialist with many years of experience in Africa
SunErgy (https://sunergy-power.org) was founded in Norway in 2010 and aims to supply communities in emerging countries with off-grid solar energy through small turnkey solar power plants. These are connected directly to the customers' buildings via their own electricity grid, so-called mini-grids.  SunErgy's activities are organised through SunErgy GmbH in Germany and its two subsidiaries in Cameroon, SunErgy Ltd. and 2 Mites Ltd.  SunErgy Cameroon is responsible for the construction as well as operation of the solar power plants in Cameroon and for the construction of solar power plants in other African countries. In May 2012, the company entered into an agreement with the Republic of Cameroon to supply solar power to 92 villages of about 115,000 families or 600,000 people, as well as schools, health centres, private and public enterprises, etc. in the Southwest region of Cameroon. In addition, SunErgy has stakes in companies in Kenya and Uganda. 


New regions and investment themes are the business purpose of KNF Beteiligungs-GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of KGAL GmbH & Co. KG (https://www.kgal.de). KNF Beteiligungs-GmbH already invested in the former SunErgy AS Oslo in 2019. Its registered office was moved to Grünwald near Munich in 2021, where KGAL also has its headquarters. KGAL is an independent German investment and asset manager with over 350 employees. With an investment volume under management of more than 16 billion euros (as of 31 December 2022), it is primarily active in the real estate, aircraft and renewable energy sectors. 

Wolf01.jpg

April 2023

Get to Know: Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Fugger

EWIA Founder and Director West Africa Wolf-Dietrich Fugger 

Who are the people behind EWIA Green Investments? What drives them, what is important to them? Today, co-founder and Director West Africa Dr Wolf-Dietrich Fugger introduces himself in an interview and describes when he first came into contact with Africa, why Ghana has become his second home and why the founding of EWIA was almost a matter of course.

 

Hello, Wolf! How and why did you become an entrepreneur/founder?

My grandfather had an agricultural business, so I have known the principle of sowing and harvesting since I was a child. So I learned from practical experience to weigh risks, make decisions, sow new seeds and take responsibility.

After various scientific activities, I worked at the Research Centre Jülich in the field of technology assessment and carried out technology appraisals (opportunity and risk assessment) of new technologies (energy, mobile communications, biotechnology, etc.) for investors who wanted to invest in new technologies/start-ups as venture investors. During this time I got to know many new business ideas and breakthrough technologies and the opportunities that arise from them, which inspired me.

 

Is EWIA your first start-up?

No, in my life so far I have been active in corporate finance and M&A for many years. At the same time, over the last ten years, I have repeatedly looked for business opportunities - not charity - in Ghana, including in the agricultural, solar and raw materials sectors, in order to do something different and meaningful.

What problem would you like to solve first and foremost with your company?

Life without electricity is unthinkable for us in Germany! For many countries in Africa and the people living there, power cuts - still today - are nothing special! Even South Africa is currently experiencing major (home-made) problems with the power supply in almost all major cities, which is leading to so-called "load shedding", as the "planned (and sometimes unplanned) power cuts lasting several hours" are called there. These are blackouts that plunge entire regions or city districts into darkness for up to eleven hours. Moreover, many regions in Africa are not even electrified.

The energy sector in Ghana with its recurring problems with the power grid since the 90s, long-lasting power cuts, the simultaneously very high electricity costs and the use of even more expensive diesel generators, which are also harmful to the environment, more or less imposed themselves on me.

 

You are focused on Africa and your passion for Africa is hard to miss. What is it about Africa that excites you so much?

Even as a child, Africa and "the unfamiliar" there fascinated me. Today, I am particularly fascinated by the many and extreme contrasts and the joy of life, the friendliness and openness of the people despite all their challenges, as well as the colourful, "hectic" and always noisy hustle and bustle on the streets.

From 1993 to 1996 I was already working for the University of Göttingen in a large research network of different universities in Northern Ghana. In my project on measuring the sustainability of local peasant farming systems and their socio-economic impact, I had about 50 people in the team in Ghana, ranging from laboratory assistants, field technicians, drivers, foremen to field workers. This made me one of the biggest employers in this rural area in Northern Ghana and I had gone from being a scientist to a manager.

It was during my employment that I met my wife. Family relationships, friendships and contacts in business and politics in Ghana have been kept up by me over the years since then. Ghana has become my second home. But since then, I have also had a piece of Africa at home here in Germany!

Today, I know many countries and their cultures in West Africa and also spent several months in Madagascar (East Africa) as a consultant.

 

What can Europe learn from Africa?

Europe is not the center of the world! On the contrary, Europe must now seek its place anew in a new world order, also and especially in Africa.

Europe needs Africa! Africa is the continent of awakening, of rapid growth and change & transformation. When we in Europe think about the future of the world economy, we should therefore turn our gaze to Africa! Both politically and economically, Africa is of crucial importance for Europe. In this context, a partnership at equal footing is appropriate in order to build close and stable relations and to develop the potentials that present themselves together with the African partners. Today, African countries are very self-confident and choose their partners themselves. The people in Africa are very open to cooperation with Europe and especially with Germany!

 

If you didn't work at EWIA, where would you work?

This is a hypothetical question and does not really arise for me. In all likelihood, as an entrepreneur with a vision of building something else in Africa, I would probably have founded or participated in another impact company with suitable partners.

Do you have role models in the broadest sense?

Entrepreneurs with passion, a willingness to take risks, high social competence and responsibility.

In particular, Mo Ibrahim, from Sudan, as an African pioneer in the telecommunications industry in Africa and founder of a foundation dedicated to governance and leadership.

What do you consider to be the most important invention of mankind?

That's not a simple answer, because there have been many groundbreaking inventions in the past. To name two examples, the car with the new possibilities of mobility and transport, and the telephone for direct communication with people who are not in the same place.

 

Which book has influenced you the most and which is the last book you read?

The Bible, as an everyday guide in all areas, I read it every morning as part of my morning routine and devotions to orient myself for the day.

 

If you had one wish, for example from a fairy godmother? What would it be?

To live to a ripe old age and be in the best of health.

And where do we often meet you at the weekend?

On the doorstep, in the countryside around Munich, enjoying the wonderful landscape with the mountains and lakes. Or at home, where you can recharge your batteries and unwind.

230120_EWIA_Timo04.jpg

April 2023

Get to Know: Timo Schäfer

EWIA founder and CFO Timo Schäfer
Who are the people behind EWIA Green Investments? What drives them, what is important to them? Today, co-founder and CFO Timo Schäfer introduces himself in an interview and explains what it means to him to be an entrepreneur, why he would not call himself an "Africa expert" and why the dishwasher was an epoch-making invention.


Hello Timo! How and why did you become an entrepreneur?
I grew up in a family business, which was successfully run by the third generation until both my parents sold it a few years ago. That means I didn't know anything else for a long time. The fact that there is also something like a division into a working life from 08:00 to 17:00 and a private life during the rest of the time was not familiar to me for a long time. Entrepreneurship was therefore in my blood, so to speak, but it took a few years until the right constellation of people and business purpose came together. 

Is EWIA your first foundation?
Yes, after many ideas failed on paper in the planning phase. For me, being an entrepreneur means creating something meaningful 365 days a year and bearing responsibility for people, the environment and investors. With such a personal commitment, the question of meaning is considerable and EWIA answers it: global CO2 reduction and local enhancement of individual quality of life on the Africa continent of opportunity. For me, being an entrepreneur means leading with values and creating something new, something better, which did not exist before. That is why I became a founder and entrepreneur.

What problem would you like to solve first and foremost with your company?
I can't save the world with EWIA, but I can make it a bit more liveable for many people every day. The fascinating thing about our business model is the three-fold benefit: Ecology, Social and Economy are inseparably united in our business model and are mutually dependent. 
Let's argue from the customer's point of view. Our product saves costs for our customer, besides it saves CO2 through clean electricity production (no fossil grid electricity or diesel power). In addition, the local, medium-sized company becomes more competitive and can offer more employment and higher salaries. Therefore, I have a satisfied customer who is happy to pay his monthly bill. For us and our investors, this means not only an economic but also an ecological and social return.

You are focused on Africa and your passion for Africa is hard to miss. What is it about Africa that excites you so much?
I have visited several African countries in my life. However, just as there is no such thing as the "dolce vita" of Italy or the supposed German punctuality in Europe, there is no such thing as the continent of Africa. 
I got to know Africa as a consultant in the service of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). In Ethiopia in 2010, I was fascinated by the friendliness of the people and the extreme poverty in the countryside. In the same year, I travelled to Uganda. Now I had my "Africa image" of Ethiopia firmly anchored in my head and in Kampala I encountered a completely different culture and a modern nightlife that I knew more from the music clubs of Rimini.
In 2011, I set foot on West African soil for the first time in Ghana. My first impression was: "What a colourful, bright and loud country!" Ghanaians love loud music, but over which I struggle to hold a conversation. 
What unites all these countries, however, is the young society and the challenge that comes with such an age pyramid. Quite similar to the retirement home of Germany, but in reverse; our skilled workers are retired and the young African countries lack skilled workers, knowledge and experience. However, this challenge is met with what I find a fascinating lightness and a talent for improvisation that I can only wish for in Germany.

What can Europe learn from Africa?
Improvisation, serenity, cheerfulness and living in the here and now. 
I have been living in Ghana again since 2021 and have the opportunity to look at Germany with a certain distance. I am often surprised at how stubbornly we cling to old technologies out of fear, even though science shows us the dawn. For example, I would like to see more of a spirit of optimism when it comes to shutting down nuclear reactors. After all, if rich Germany can't manage the turnaround to renewable energies, which country will? We can learn courage and curiosity to create something new - as I have come to know Ghana and what I appreciate so much about this country.

If you were not working at EWIA, where would you work?
I would probably be working in sustainability management/controlling in a corporate holding company and privately be involved with the countries of Africa. Therefore, I am very happy with EWIA: to be able to live a life where I can combine my professional and private life with the extremely meaningful activity of financing renewable energies and thus counteracting climate change. 

Do you have role models in the broadest sense?
Role models in the broadest sense are all those family entrepreneurs who do not base their corporate strategy on their own needs, but on the needs of the next generation and the generation after that. A good example is Schrauben-Würth from Schwäbisch Gmünd.


What do you consider to be the most important invention of mankind?
It's hard to say. I think the washing machine and the dishwasher were decisive milestones of our Western civilisation. Because through these inventions, the emancipation of women took a decisive step forward.


Which book has had the greatest impact on you and which is the last book you read?
As is so often the case in life, it is not the individual experience or book that is decisive, but the experiences or books and the people with whom we share and controversially discuss the books and experiences.
One of my most recent books is " Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah. In this book, Trevor Noah tells his own story against the background of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The comedy talent manages to portray the crimes of the regime with a lightness that is second to none. 

If you had one wish, for example from a fairy godmother? What would it be?
To stay healthy, because without health everything else is nothing.

 

And where do we often meet you at the weekend?
In nature, mountain biking or hiking in the mountains.

Ralph im Flugzeug.jpg

March 2023

Get to Know: Ralph Schneider

EWIA founder and CEO Ralph Schneider.

Who are the people behind EWIA Green Investments? What drives them, what is important to them? Today, co-founder and managing director Ralph Schneider introduces himself in an interview and describes how and why EWIA was founded, what the African Dream is all about - and what books keep him busy. Shortly after the interview, he is already on a plane to Accra, Ghana.

 

Hello Ralph! How and why did you become an entrepreneur/founder?
I worked for many years in the management of various companies, including Phoenix Solar, Royal Dutch/Shell and various banks. I became an entrepreneur for several reasons. On the one hand, I felt very restricted in my creative freedom by many guidelines and constraints, even as a member of the top management. And even as a board member of a stock listed company, you are subject to an unbelievable number of constraints, and politics and analysts determine your life.

For me, however, it is very much about creative freedom and the opportunity to be able to implement things directly, actively and in a targeted manner. 
But what is almost more important to me is that I can live the values that I stand behind and that are important to me in "my" own company and that I can make a difference. For example, I don't think about an exit before one has even founded and tax-optimised structures via Malta and Mauritius before the first euro has even been earned. For me, it's more about building a sustainable, solid medium-sized company that is successful internationally in the long term.

Is EWIA your first start-up?
In 2012, I had already founded an international project development company for solar power plants together with a venture capital company. I also implemented the management buyout of a subsidiary together with a London-based investment company. But there, too, I quickly came up against limits when it came to topics such as entrepreneurial scope and values. 
In 2018, the decision finally matured to set up something completely my own. In 2019, all the preparations were already in full swing. In February 2020, shortly before the Corona outbreak, we founded. I am very grateful to work with Wolf-Dietrich Fugger, Timo Schäfer, but also with our advisory board member Manfred Bächler in a founding team that, in addition to the necessary personalities, also follows a very similar impact-driven philosophy. You rarely find something like that.

What problem do you want to solve first and foremost with your company?
When I see that no company or large household in Africa can manage without a diesel generator due to unstable and missing power supply, and this on the sunniest continent on earth, then I no longer understand this world. We at EWIA want to provide a CO2-free, uninterruptible power supply for small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa, and we want to do this more cost-effectively than with conventional, fossil-based solutions. Wherever a diesel generator is humming and polluting the air, a solar plant from EWIA could be located.

You are focused on Africa and your passion for Africa is hard to miss. What is it about Africa that excites you so much?
I first came to West Africa in 1990. That was the initial spark. At that time, I started from Munich in a former truck of the Paris-Dakar Rally and crossed the Sahara. Then followed trips from Kenya to Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. Business-wise, I have been involved in Africa since 2013. I could now say Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro in Kenya, elephants bathing in the Zambezi, long desert drives at night through Niger, the wildlife and the landscape in general. What fascinates me most, however, is the optimism of the people, the confidence in a better future and that one can move a lot. In general, the joy of life, which is also expressed in singing and dancing.
My second passion is renewable energies, so it was an obvious idea to combine the two. 

What can Europe learn from Africa?
When I've been in Africa for four weeks, many of the supposed problems we have in Europe are quickly put into perspective. You get an eye for the essentials again. Then I know what it means to really be an entrepreneur. Almost every second, healthy, young person who has some schooling and a little start-up capital would like to be an entrepreneur themselves. It is natural to run two or three different businesses side by side. We always talk about the American Dream, but there is also an African Dream. But this also means that it is incredibly difficult to attract well-educated people for permanent employment. 
At the same time, the proportion of women, i.e. women entrepreneurs, is extremely high. In Ghana, we are talking about 40% and more. Family unions and family solidarity play a special role. Children are very important. Even in families with a high level of education and a good income. Our managing director in Ghana has four children and so does our managing director of infrastructure. The average age in Europe is about 42 years in Germany over 44 years. We are the old people's home of the world. But the most important driver of economic growth is demographics. Africa has an incredible demographic return. The average age in Africa is about 19.5 years. Education and training is given a high value. It is not taken for granted. There is no full-court mentality.
EWIA's local management still goes to school three times a week in the evenings and they are over 40 years old.

If you didn't work at EWIA, where would you work?
There was indeed no lack of lucrative offers or alternatives. As a former investment banker, it was tempting to work in the management of an investment company again. However, during exploratory talks with thoroughly exciting companies, it quickly became clear that the word "impact investments" is merely a nice wrapping for many companies. And that brings us back to the topic of values and "making a difference". In the end, there was no serious alternative other than entrepreneurship.

Do you have role models in the broadest sense?
Helmut Schmidt definitely comes to mind. A personality who still fascinates me. For me, he embodies a straightforward Hanseatic with an attitude, who also had the courage to make unpopular and unpleasant decisions. He was also economically very competent, a maker who thought things through and let himself be guided as little as possible by pure emotions. But I was also very interested in people like Alfred Herrhausen and, in the beginning, John F. Kennedy.

What do you consider to be the most important invention of mankind?
I think it's the discovery and mastery of fire and the invention of the wheel. But I also consider writing and printing to be very essential. But an invention is never good or bad, it's what you do with it that counts.


Which book has shaped you the most and which is the last book you read?
Books have shaped my life since childhood and I have always been magically drawn to libraries. The topics and contents have changed a lot over the years. But off the top of my head I would think of "All Men are Mortal" by Simone de Beauvoir. Not the most exciting book, but it demonstrates very well that many things are relative and finite. Kingdoms come and go. 
The last book I read was by Joe Chialo, a Tanzanian MP, "The Struggle Continues", and before that "Africa First" by Martin Schöller. And I have a book by Henning Mankell, "The Eye of the Leopard", in front of me right now. 

If you had one wish, for example from a fairy godmother? What would that be?
I am a selfish person. To grow old together with my wife and children in good health and without financial worries, and to leave my children and grandchildren a better world than the one we found. Those were two wishes, but I like to negotiate and the second wish is not quite so selfish.


And where do we often meet you at the weekend?
As a native of the Saarland, I am naturally fond of wine, culinary delights and French savoir-vivre. So I love to spend time in a good restaurant or simply in a sidewalk café when the sun is shining. Preferably with friends or family. And on Sunday mornings you can find me in the forest, because I don't want to neglect my running training and then have to work off the calories again. 
Ralph, thank you for the interview!

2023.01_GhanaTeam.jpg

February 2023

EWIA continues to grow

In the course of our projects in the north of Ghana we have gained new valuable employees.


Firstly Jonathan Karaah has joined the team as permanent Sales Manager in Tamale together with Sales Director Nana Kwadwo Adu-Boateng.
 

And secondly, we have gained Delight Yayra Mensah for EWIA Infrastructure Ltd., an employee who already has relevant industry experience in accounting and administration.
We are particularly pleased to be able to to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals 8: "Decent Work and Economic Growth" by hiring new employees.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are the 17 global goals for sustainable development of the 2030 Agenda agreed upon by the United Nations ¬– and they are an important guideline for EWIA's work.
 

Further new appointments have already been planned for 2023.

Afriwave Solarsystems.jpg

December 2022

EWIA equips 6 mobile phone masts with PV systems

EWIA has now equipped the first six mobile phone masts with PV systems in Tamale in the sparsely populated north of Ghana. The work was carried out by EWIA Infrastructure, our joint venture with Tong New Energy.

The mobile phone network in Africa as part of the infrastructure is even more important than in Europe. This is also because there is only a weakly developed landline network. The supply of electricity to the transmission masts is a particularly critical point in this respect. Many masts, especially in remote locations, have their own power supply – so far usually in the form of diesel generators. This has many disadvantages: The generators are not exactly environmentally friendly, they also require a lot of maintenance, have to be refueled once a week and are therefore quite expensive to maintain.

 

The sun as a source of electricity for transmission towers is a better solution in every respect.

Osko Lodge Graphic Business.png

October 2022

„Graphic Business“ reports on the opening of EWIA's Osko Lodge PV plant in Kumasi

Recently, Graphic Business, the most popular newspaper in Ghana, published an article about the new solar system at Osko Lodge guest house, which is operated and managed by EWIA.


Quoting Dr. Ebenezer Osei-Kofi, the director of Osko, the article said, "In our country, the sun shines all year round, and it's about time we harnessed it and put it to profitable use."
 

Dr. Osei-Kofi, a pioneer in this regard, added to this insight with the following correct statement: "Even countries that don't have sun all year round know how to make good use of the little they have."
He therefore called on the government to support private companies that invest in solar energy by reducing taxes on, equipment imported for installation.

 

Last but not least, he pointed out that the more people use  solar energy, the significantly lower the country's carbon footprint will be.

20220804_114809LinkedIn.webp

September 2022

EWIA Supports Women's Initiative in Tolon, the Northern Region of Ghana

EWIA has agreed to cooperate with the Munich-based company Archimedes-Consult GmbH and to plant a certain number of trees in Ghana for investors.


Each investor receives a corresponding certificate with the coordinates of his tree and thus actively fights climate change. It is virtually a green dividend, a real impact investment!

It was important to EWIA that this investment, in addition to CO2 sequestration, also provides employment opportunities.
In our case, in addition to the obvious benefits of reforestation, the 250 trees (shea butter and cashew trees) will provide local women with livelihood opportunities. Therefore, the cooperation includes Rural AgriHub Ltd and Lydia Madintin Konlan.

Rural AgriHub, serves 1 500 farmers and trains local women in the cultivation of these trees. The trees are crops that will provide significant additional income to the women's initiative within 3 years.

Further proof that EWIA is actively supporting and keeping track of multiple SDG Goals simultaneously.

ewia-arccu-credit-union-goes-green

September 2022

Business and Financial Times Ghana Reports About EWIA and ARCCU Credit Union

EWIA is increasingly noticed by the local press and regional business representatives.

On September 9 2022 the official commissioning of the photovoltaic plant for ARCCU Credit Union in Takoradi could be celebrated. On the occasion of the board meeting and the elementary important event for ARCCU, the press was also present.
In particular, the Business and Financial Times reported extensively on the event.


EWIA is increasingly noticed by the local press and regional business representatives.

ewia-infrastructure-new-staff

May 2022

EWIA Signs 28 New Employees for EWIA Infrastructure

EWIA is pleased to announce the expansion of its staff. After already hiring 6 new employees during the year, another 5 employees could be signed on. In total, 28 contracts are signed with new employees.

Last year, EWIA Infrastructure Ltd, Ghana, was established as a joint venture between EWIA and Tong New Energy to start the construction of towers in the telecommunications sector.

 

Gradually, however, the team will also be further trained and educated in electrical engineering and power engineering, so that synergies can also be created for EWIA's photovoltaic branch.
 

In particular, telecommunication towers will be equipped with PV systems.

ben-acheampong-ewia-infrastructure.png

May 2022

EWIA Hires New Head of Technics at EWIA Infrastructure

With Bernard Acheampong we welcome a new Head of Technics. Ben was previously the technical head of Tong New Energy Ghana Limited, with whom EWIA has entered into a new joint venture. Ben is one of the experts in Ghana's telecommunications sector when it comes to the erection of telecom towers and Huaei Alpha projects.
 

Ben has been responsible for the erection of cell towers at over 200 sites across Ghana and is a great asset to the EWIA Infrastructure team.

ewia-investments-ghana-orphanage

June 2022

EWIA Hands Over Photovoltaic System to Orphanage in Koforidua

We had the pleasure of handing over new 10k solar systems and also a battery system to the Glorious Hand Foundation in Koforidua to meet future needs. Glorious Hand runs an orphanage in the capital of the Eastern Region in the very south of Ghana, where about 22 children are cared for.

Together with Jubaili Bros Solar, one of our trusted suppliers of solar and renewable energy solutions, and Huawei, we were able to present a solar solution that will enable the charity to meet its energy needs while reducing the challenge of electricity bills. A 5KWh battery system was chosen as a backup to provide a 24-hour power supply. A vote of thanks for attending the opening ceremony goes to Nana Obrempong Okyeame Bonsu of Jumapo in New Juaben Municipality, Asante Yeboah (Head of Department of Social Welfare), Bruce Liu (Manager of Digital Power at Huawei), Sampson Amanyo-Zickson (Head of Solar for West Africa at Jubaili Bros).

Ghanaian Beatrice Domevi, who lives in Germany, founded the home in 2014 in Breman Asikuma. The Glorious Hand Foundation supports HIV patients and children, malaria cases and incidents that prevent children from attending school.

!ste Funding Erfolg1.png

December 2021

EWIA successfully closes financing round

EWIA Green Investments GmbH successfully closes its first digital funding campaign. 


With a funding result of € 840,000, EWIA presents the third best result of a start-up company on the financing platform of "Fundernation". In addition to several business angels, "CM Equity AG" and "Dynamic Holding", among others, also participated in EWIA as shareholders. 
 

The funds will be used to pre-finance further C&I projects, hire new employees and build up the joint venture for the realization of infrastructure projects and mobile phone masts.

ralph-schneider-spotify-nachhaltigkeitspodcast

October 2021

Ralph Schneider Talks @ "Der Österreichische Nachhaltigkeitspodcast"

#9 (EWIA1) EWIA Green Investments: Solarenergie in Afrika - "Wo Dieselgeneratoren Strom erzeugen, könnte ein Solarpanel stehen"

Recently, EWIA Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer Ralph Schneider was a guest on www.boersenradio.at 's Austrian Sustainability Podcast. He explained to host Sebastian Leben,

  • that the company aims to be present in West and East Africa as well as in the southern continent within ten years

  • what the "lease-to-own" principle is all about, and

  • a trained investment banker, relies on crowdfunding.- why Schneider


Have fun listening!

Bildschirm­foto 2023-02-08 um 17.10.13.png

October 2021

CM-Equity AG Invests in EWIA Green Investments GmbH

CM-Equity has become a shareholder in EWIA Green Investments.

"With our investment in EWIA Green Investments, we also want to make a significant contribution to CO2 reduction and the improvement of living conditions in Africa. With EWIA Green Investments we have found an important strategic partner. We also see interesting synergy opportunities here to expand our activities on the African continent," says Michael Kott, Founder and CEO of CM-Equity AG.


CM-Equity is a 19 year old financial institution from Munich, regulated according to §32 KWG. CM-Equity was an early pioneer in the field of digital asset management. With a fully licensed, connected capital market infrastructure platform for digital assets for companies, FinTechs and investors, CM-Equity has advanced to become one of the best-known players in the digital asset market in Germany and Europe.

Mechanical Completion of EWIA's First Solar Project

April 2021

Mechanical Completion of EWIA's First Solar Project

Shortly before Easter, EWIA Green Investments had started the construction of the first solar project in Ghana. The realisation and implementation went according to plan. The local EPC company AB Solar was already able to report "Mechanical Completion". "With the Regal Hotel in Tamale, we can now present the first showcase project in northern Ghana. In the meantime, we have received various other enquiries from the north of Ghana," says Ralph Schneider CIO of EWIA Green Investments GmbH. The acceptance and test operation as well as the installation of the monitoring technology with engineers specially commissioned by EWIA is now scheduled to take place in mid-May. EWIA's management will be on site in Ghana for the next few weeks. Among other things, a customer visit to Burkina Faso is also planned. There, a larger off-grid plant including a large battery storage is planned with one of the leading construction groups.

Kooperation Irrigation Netz EWIA_hoch.png

February 2021

Cooperation With Ewind

EWIA Green Investments expands business activities through cooperation in the agricultural sector. Just in time for World Earth Day, EWIA enters into a cooperation with ewind from Berlin. This strategic partnership in the agricultural sector once again underlines our impact investment approach.

EWIAinvestments develops, finances, implements and operates solar plants for commercial and industrial enterprises in Africa.

Through a combination of rain-fed agriculture and economically viable solar plants, ewind brings new impulses to energy and food supply, especially in Africa, where energy supply is often still inadequate, and droughts repeatedly threaten harvests. Agro-photovoltaics enables highly efficient land use through the dual use of the field. This means cheap solar energy and multiplication of agricultural yields and preservation of soils and biodiversity.

In this way, both companies contribute their know-how in the fields of agriculture in low-rainfall areas and financing sustainable energy production. This results in a double win-win situation. Cheap solar power for companies and at the same time agricultural yields are multiplied through more efficient water management measures and soil erosion is reduced.

Solar on site.jpg

February 2021

EWIA Enters Into Joint Venture in Ghana

EWIA Green Investments GmbH (EWIA) and Tong New Energy Ltd. (Tong) have signed a joint venture agreement after about six months of preparation. Both partners will implement infrastructure projects such as telecommunication stations in Ghana in a new legal entity. While Tong is responsible for the technical and constructional implementation, EWIA will provide the administrative and commercial resources as well as the financing of the projects. The market in Ghana currently envisages the construction of more than 6,000 telecommunication towers. Each of these telecommunication facilities will also be equipped with its own solar system. "We are happy to have found a profound, strategic partner in EWIA Green Investments, who also has excellent market knowledge and experience in Ghana", said Frank Mensah - Founding Partner Tong New Energy. For EWIA, the joint venture is also another important milestone for the achievement of key SDG goals. In particular, the combination of telecommunications, renewable energy and the safeguarding of jobs in Ghana are to be emphasised here.

Regal Hotel Contract Signature.png

December 2020

First EWIA Project in Tamale, Ghana

Less than 6 weeks after the successful foundation of our company "EWIA Green Investments West Africa", EWIA was able to sign the first contract for the realisation and financing of a solar project in Tamale, the northern provincial capital of Ghana. "We are very pleased that our careful and professional preparation for entering the Ghana market has paid off so quickly." (Says Nana Boateng, Sales Director, EWIA West Africa). The implementation of the project in Q1 2021 is intended to be a beacon for other companies in northern Ghana. EWIA is currently planning the implementation of various other impact projects in West Africa.

Kofi Annan Award.jpeg

March 2022

EWIA - Ralph Schneider appointed to the Supporter Team of the Austrian Federal Chancellery for the Kofi Annan Award

The Austrian Federal Chancellery has announced the "Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa" together with other renowned organizations, a prize for innovative start-ups in Africa. 
 

Among other things, the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 3 "Good health and well-being" was to be addressed.
The prize was offered with a total of 3 x €250,000. The so-called

matchmaking event took place in March 2022, where the most promising candidates were able to present themselves.
 

We are particularly pleased that our Chief Investment Officer and Africa expert Ralph Schneider was appointed to the so-called supporter team of the "Kofi Anan Award" and thus the opinion and assessment of EWIA Green Investments was also in demand.

The Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa seeks to raise awareness for the potential African entrepreneurs hold to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and honour the late Kofi Annan’s legacy and commitment to a more just and equitable world.

EWIA WA Foundation.png

October 2020

Opening of EWIA Green Investments West Africa Ltd.

In spite of all COVID adversities we have managed to successfully establish our subsidiary EWIA Green Investments West Africa. Within a few days we received our operating licence and also moved into our new office in Accra. We are looking forward to move many things with a "Magic Power Team" on site and to implement our first projects in a timely manner. Not only "Solarinvestments for Africa" but also "Investments for a better World".

IMG_20200205_183154.jpg

February 2020

Foundation of EWIA Green Investments GmbH

EWIA Green Investments GmbH, based in Munich and West Africa, is finally getting started.

After almost 12 months of intensive preparatory work, the time has now come. EWIA Green Investments GmbH, based in Munich and West Africa, is finally getting started.

 

As a new impact investment company, we have made it our goal to provide sustainable support to medium-sized companies in Africa.

EWIA develops and finances high-quality, renewable energy projects and enables companies to produce clean, reliable and long-term, cheap electricity.

 

This strengthens the competitiveness of the companies, secures jobs in Africa and helps the climate.

 

EWIA works together with international technology partners and investors.

bottom of page