The enterprise development department is responsible for supporting small and medium sized entreprises in the renewable energy & energy saving sector. This reflects Mali-Folkecenter's conviction that sustainable energy enterprises are a key factor (and often a missing link) in the supply of energy services to rural populations.

Mali-Folkecenter is the focal point for AREED (African Rural Energy Enterprise Development) in Mali, and the enterprise development department is responsible for activities in the frame of this project. Please visit for more information.

UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme) initiated the AREED initiative in April 2000. AREED seeks to develop new sustainable energy enterprises that use clean, efficient, and renewable energy technologies to meet energy needs of under-served populations, thereby reducing the environmental and health consequences of existing energy use patterns. The project is coordinated in 5 countries by E&Co, the US energy investment non-profit company.

The AREED approach offers rural energy entrepreneurs a combination of enterprise development services and start-up financing. This integrated financial and technical support allows entrepreneurs to plan and structure their companies in a manner that prepares them for growth and makes eventual investments by mainstream financial partners less risky.

Click here for photos & description of a training session.

The AREED initiative is currently operational in Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. In each country, local NGO partners act as the focal point for activities, including ENDA in Senegal, KITE in Ghana, CEEEZ in Zambia, and TaTEDO in Tanzania.

Through AREED, Mali-Folkecenter provides early-stage funding and enterprise development services to entrepreneurs, helping build successful businesses that supply clean energy technologies and services to rural Malian customers. Services include training, hands-on business development assistance and, for promising enterprises, early-stage investment and assistance in securing financing.

The AREED initiative also works to broaden the skills of organizations involved in the energy and investment sectors to nurture energy entrepreneurs.

AREED works with financial institutions to assess the rural energy business sector and integrate it into their portfolios. This is accomplished through workshops and specific hands-on tools, centered on rural energy markets and enterprises, appropriate project finance models, financial analysis and risk management issues. Opportunities for co-financing are also explored.

What AREED has to offer:

To date, Mali-Folkecenter has provided Enterprise Development Support to many entrepreneurs, and four companies have received loans to help them develop their business. MFC has also developed partnerships with other organisations in Mali to facilitate enterprise development activities such as CAECE (Caisse Associative des Entrepreneurs et Commercants - Cooperative Bank for Entrepreneurs & Traders), FARE (Fonds Auto-Renouvelable pour l'Emploi - Renewable Fund for Employment), APEJ (Agence pour la Promotion de l'Emploi des Jeunes - Agency for Promotion of Youth Employment), and BMS (Banque Malienne de Solidarité - Malian Solidarity Bank). These organisations are now assisting in identification of entrepreneurs, or are open to possibilities to co-finance projects. Establishing contacts with these organisations will be important for the perennisation of the AREED approach in Mali.

Mali-Folkecenter will continue to follow entrepreneurs and to provide support and advice. Further queries may be addressed to Mahamadou Karamoko Diarra, coordinator of the Enterprise Development Department. Click on contacts for email address.

Enterprises financed in the frame of AREED:


USISS solar drying

GIE Bagani Jatropha multi-task energy platform