Credits: united4efficiency

The ECOWAS Refrigerators and Air Conditioners Initiative (ECOFRIDGES) announces a partnership with La Banque Agricole in Senegal, to provide an on-bill financing mechanism in collaboration with the local utility, Senelec. This will help Senegalese households and micro-entrepreneurs access affordable refrigerators and air conditioners that waste less electricity and have a smaller environmental footprint compared to typical cooling products.

ECOFRIDGES is a United Nations Environment Programme – United for Efficiency (UNEP U4E) initiative in partnership with the Government of Senegal and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE) that aims to accelerate adoption of superior cooling products and recycle existing, inefficient equipment. The initiative is made possible by funding from the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP).

West African States are experiencing significant economic and demographic growth, which drives demand for domestic refrigerators and room air conditioners. Such cooling products are essential for the health, well-being and competitiveness of these economies, but they pose critical challenges in terms of energy consumption and environmental impacts. Older, inefficient models often contain outdated refrigerants, that are potent greenhouse gasses, and use two to three times more energy than superior models available in well-regulated markets.

This initiative is in line with the new Senegalese Energy Sector Development Policy Letter (LDPSE), the overall objective of which is to “strengthen access for all to sufficient quality and quantity of energy, at a lower cost, that is sustainable and environmentally friendly”. This objective necessarily involves an efficient and less polluting use of electricity by end users.

The Government of Senegal, via the Agency for the Economy and the Control of Energy (AEME), the Directorate of the Environment and Classified Establishments (DEEC) and SENELEC, has identified innovative financing options as one of its main objectives towards adopting more sustainable cooling solutions for households and micro-entrepreneurs.

ECOFRIDGES is developing an on-bill financing mechanism in Senegal, allowing prepaid Woyofal customers of SENELEC to repay preferential consumer loans for buying certified models via their electricity bills.

Financially self-sustaining collection and recycling of used devices is integrated in the scheme. In addition, a systematic procedure for testing equipment to ensure it meets performance claims, as well as a consumer awareness campaign, are being undertaken.

ECOFRIDGES Senegal aims to unlock funding of $7 million USD (nearly FCFA 4 billion) to support consumers’ purchases of 20,000 eligible cooling devices by 2024. It may be possible to extend the scheme in the future to cover additional investment opportunities with other sustainable energy technologies.

ECOFRIDGES Senegal is based on green consumer loans provided by La Banque Agricole (LBA) to eligible SENELEC’s prepaid Woyofal customers and reimbursed through their electricity bills, in addition to their usual electricity consumption charges. Eligible customers will be able to choose a certified model of refrigerator or air conditioner through a partner vendor through the scheme. The ECOFRIDGES team is delighted to announce that La Banque Agricole is the first financial partner that will support the Senegalese for the financing of these energy efficient and environmentally friendly appliances.

La Banque Agricole will play a leading role in demonstrating the commercial viability of an innovative mechanism that is acceptable to Senegalese households and micro-entrepreneurs. Such win-win actions, and the involvement of the private sector, are essential for sustainable economic development in Senegal.

DEEC indicated, “Every gesture counts. Let us act together to protect the environment.”

AEME, coordinator of the implementation of ECOFRIDGES Senegal alongside DEEC and other partners, recalls its mission to implement the national policy of the state of Senegal in terms of energy efficiency through which ECOFRIDGES Senegal will contribute strategically. AEME also adds that “The first source of energy is saving energy.”

The Managing Director of La Banque Agricole, Mr. Malick Ndiaye said, “La Banque Agricole is committed to promoting project financing and/or climate change mitigation and support for activities with low CO2 emissions.

Senelec reiterates its commitment to materialize the Government’s vision of opting for an energy transition that emphasizes clean energy and energy efficiency to support economic competitiveness, robust performance and sustainability in the sector.