Burundi: Renewable Energy Competition

Innovation Areas: CHALLENGE
Stage: Early stage

Quick and cheap energy supply to IDP communities in Burundi

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The problem addressed

Lack of energy and deforestation. In Burundi, electricity production is insufficient to meet demand, and less than 5% of the population has electricity. Power systems and obsolete industrial plants induce significant losses, and most of its energy comes from firewood which covers over 95% of the energy needs of the nation. The use of non-optimized conventional stoves creates a fuelwood demand which exceeds domestic supply, leading to significant deforestation and high costs. UNDP wishes to initiate faster action to promote innovative solutions for substitutes for firewood.

The intervention

This initiative seeks to hold an open innovation contest to develop and support at least five ideas/projects offering innovative energy and technology solutions for Burundi, substituting or reducing the use of fuelwood consumption in all its forms. During UNDP SHIFT Week of Innovation Action in September in Bujumbura and during the Innovation Forum in Togo, the Burundi Country Office consolidated experiences in renewable energy, with the goal to launch this contest to identify winning solutions in renewable energy which will provide rural communities in Burundi new green alternative energy solutions which are socially viable, technically feasible, locally available and easy to implement. 

The partners

This project is the result of trilateral cooperation between the governments of China (MOFCOM: Department of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (DITEA) in Beijing ) and government of  Burundi (Ministry of Energy and Mines), together with UNDP. Participants of the SHIFT event and to the Lomé innovation forum included development and environment experts, government officials, an external expert in renewable energy competitions, and UNDP colleagues from Burundi, Bosnia, Cameroon Country Offices, Bénin and Togo.

Results/outcomes

During the SHIFT event in Bujumbura, 50 participants took par to the workshop. They received relevant information regarding the innovation contest. Energy specialist (persons and association) were prepared to present a submission.

During Innovation forum in Lomé, 18 persons took part to the workshop on Energy contest. 6 of them prepared a submission of solution for the energy contest.

Debates during both events raised pertinent question linked to the success of the energy contest. Those questions will be taken in account in the contest organization (intellectual property of innovation, opening of a virtual spaces for technical question during the call of tenders).  Those 2 events allow to train Burundian in order to promote the contest and its issues. 

Lessons identified

To launch such a contest, Intellectual properties issue should be clearly managed and define.

A lot of African countries face the same energy problem as Burundi. The innovation contest interest a wide range of nations and have to be widely promoted.

To launch such a contest internationally, price and availability of raw material of the country concerned by the contest and used in the innovative solution should be publicly spread. 

Contact person

Joseph Pihi: joseph.pihi@undp.org

Arthur Rumesha: arthur.rumesha@undp.org

Related materials

Article: 

Innovation vital for youth and Africa's economy

L’innovation, une opportunité pour réinventer l’économie de l’Afrique

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Budget

$64,000 USD



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