Identifying possibilities and building networks for renewable energy in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa : Connect project experiences
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Energy poverty presents a significant hurdle to achieving goals of improved health, prosperity and a liveable environment in many developing countries. While the main objective in the energy sector is to maintain or expand energy services, governments are also increasingly acknowledging the role of renewable energy in reducing health and environmental impacts related to the use of fossil fuels, as well as possibilities of creating jobs and reducing poverty through new sustainable energy solutions. Finnish companies have technologies and solutions that can make a difference, but entering new markets is a big challenge. This publication presents some of the findings on creating and modelling networks to the developing renewable energy markets in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa during the Connect project. The project is implemented by the Federation of Universities of Applied Sciences (FUAS), the alliance between Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Laurea University of Applied Sciences and HAMK University of Applied Sciences during 2012-2014. The project is funded by Tekes – The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Network creation and modelling has been tested through collaboration with universities, ministries, companies, NGOs and other organisations in target countries, in addition to active participation of Finnish companies and FUAS international students. International students can be a great asset to Finnish companies seeking to internationalise, while university collaboration provides opportunities for identifying needs, two-way knowledge transfer and capacity building, networking with local stakeholders, and co-creating locally adapted solutions.