Saving the Planet or Building an Alternative Circular Economy?

Pamoja Cleantech is a global born start-up enabling tech transfer for clean energy technologies in East Africa to excite sustainable entrepreneurship and climate change mitigation. The idea grew from a frustration as the founding team was participating in UNFCCC Climate Conference in Copenhagen 2009. The Conference lead to no significant progress for creating a carbon neutal economy or no binding agreement for tackling climate change. Nevertheless, we were most inspired by so many creative people and social businesses that gathered in Copenhagen to share their ideas and innovative approaches for real action.

Finally our initiative was founded around the idea that by creating scalable and sustainable business solutions to solve pressing environmental challenges we can have a real impact where it matters. We strive to measure and showcase tangible impact by tracking social impact indicators, while we also believe that, by showcasing examples of innovative business models and system innovation, we make a statement – We are willing to be part of the solution.

Our economic system is in crisis and our societies seems to exist only to serve the mantra of endless economic growth. Pamoja wants to be part of building a new smarter economy that aligns economic activity with nature and acts for responsible use of our resources. We are continously developing our business and we are open for criticism and feedback, please do contact us if you want to share your opininon or would like join us on our exciting journey.

Off-grid reality

According to the UN, access to sustainable energy is necessary in achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) by contributing to local development by improving economic conditions and providing the necessary energy for education and health services among others (UN Energy, 2005). Uganda has one of the world’s lowest electrification rates at 9% nationwide and 4% in rural areas (IEA, 2011).

In addition, the people of Uganda use biomass, mostly firewood and charcoal, for over 94% of primary energy consumption. The population, 34.5 million as of 2011, is also growing rapidly at 3% per year (World Bank,2012). Due to the large and growing population, the large demand for biomass for energy, and the need for agricultural land, a huge pressure has been placed on natural forests, and Uganda has lost over 36% of natural forest cover since 1990 (FAO, 2010) . Therefore, great care must be taken when implementing an electricty generation system which relies on a biomass fuel supply. A sustainable supply must be implemented in order not to contribute to the growing issue of deforestation and forest degradation.

Imagine Your Life without Electricity.

How could you read this text?
How would you use your PC or brows the Internet at all?
How can you preserve your food?
How do you light up your house?

Most people in Uganda use kerosine in lamps. This expensive fuel, however, doesn’t give enough light to study or to engage in small crafts and trades. The indoor pollution coming from these lamps is causing major threats to your health, such as lung cancer.

 

Now imagine you are a hardworking farmer.

How can you process your products, such as maize, casava or coffee?
How can you preserve your grain to store it as a security for dry seasons?

"The bulk of the value from crops is captured by the middle man."

Electricity is required to mill the crops to flour or to grind the coffee. Due to the fact that Diesel generators are expensive to operate, agro-processing is very fragmented. Thus, the middle man who can afford a diesel generator controls the market and captures the bulk of the value from your goods. There is no way out of your subsidiary situation.

These problems affect more than just a few people. The scale is enormous. 95% of the people in rural areas in East Africa have no access to electricity.

"95% of the people in rural areas in East Africa have no access to electricity."

At the same time, the telecom industry has achieved a revolutionary infrastructure development in rural areas and has proven to be a very strong business with positive social impact. However, the telecom base stations in off-grid rural areas are currently powered by diesel with both high economic and environmental costs.
It is time for the second revolutionary infrastructure development.

Pamoja Cleantech has developed a renewable energy hybrid system, that addresses these problems. We deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to the telecom base station, we connect the local community to electricity and provide local agro-processing for the farmer’s goods.