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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 MarouaVisit 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 cooperationMeeting 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 Solkamtech16:00 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 Yaoundé20:30 Return flight to Douala


24 October, Tuesday 10:00 - 15:30 Meeting and workshop with colleagues from SunErgy20:00 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.



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!


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