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Ashden Awards 2020: Ten clean energy innovators lighting up Africa


In countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, inspiring climate solutions are tackling the climate crisis with practical action

Some of Africa’s most promising climate and clean energy innovators have been named in the 2020 Ashden Awards long-list. The list reveals outstanding work across Africa to electrify rural areas, boost sustainable urban transport and improve the lives of refugees and farmworkers.

The longlist features ten African organisations, along with 34 other innovators from around the world. Eleven final winners will be celebrated at the Ashden Award Ceremony in London this July.

Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said: “Africa’s impressive culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is reflected in our longlist. Africa is on the frontline of the climate crisis, with seven of the top ten climate change-affected countries in the continent, so it’s crucial we promote energy solutions created and proven locally.


“Despite so much great work, Africa’s energy access challenge is huge. Close to 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are without regular access to electricity, and polluting cookstoves means many are dying just to put food on the table. What’s more, the climate emergency is creating extreme weather, worsening conflict and making it harder for people to earn a living.


“Clean energy can be a huge part of the solution. Now we need more action to support it from investors and politicians.

“Our longlist reveals great work in cities and rural areas up and down the continent, carried out by governments and city authorities, businesses, social enterprises and community organisations. This diversity is crucial – taking on the climate emergency will need action everywhere, from every section of society.

“Our African entrants also embody many of the fundamental qualities we’ll need in the years ahead – inclusivity, holistic thinking, and a desire to change systems and rethink the rules of the game. I wish them all luck ahead of the final announcement this summer.”

African organisations on the 2020 Ashden Awards longlist

Crossboundary Energy Access, Tanzania

Unlocking financing for electricity mini-grids.

Togolese Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency

A national plan to improve energy access across Togo.

Enventure, Uganda

Helping rural co-operatives and community-based organisations start clean energy ventures.

Mucho Mangoes, Kenya

A broad package of support for farmers in Kenya, including access to solar-powered drying technology.

Gaia Clean Energy, Ethiopia

Safer cooking fuels distributed by cooperatives run by refugees and host community members

Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch

Protecting the environment by boosting sustainable income-generation in the Kilum-ljim forest.

Ampersand, Rwanda

Electric motorcycles designed and manufactured in Africa.

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority

Bringing cleaner buses to the streets of Kigali.

Qhubeka, South Africa

Building bicycles, training mechanics and promoting safe cycling

EConsult, Egypt

Architects creating cooling, sustainable buildings for farmworkers.

Full Ashden Awards 2020 longlist and category list 

About Ashden  

Ashden’s mission is to accelerate transformative climate solutions and build a more just world. Through a range of awards and programmes, Ashden promotes and supports climate and energy innovators – including businesses, non-profits and public sector organisation. Founded in 2001, Ashden is based in London, with a network of 225 winners and numerous partners stretching around the world.


About the Ashden Awards  

The Ashden Humanitarian Energy Award is one of 11 prizes making up the 2020 Ashden Awards. Together, the awards highlight proven solutions to the climate crisis and energy access challenges. Winners receive a cash prize, development support, and the chance to connect with investors and leading figures in the energy and climate sector.  

Since 2001, Ashden has awarded more than 225 ground-breaking organisations. This year’s winners will be revealed in June and honoured at an awards ceremony in London on 2 July.    

The 2020 Ashden Awards ceremony will be a key event at the heart of London Climate Action Week, 26 June-6 July. Other highlights will include the Ashden solutions hub on 1-2 July – a centre for ideas and connections during the city-wide event.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende