The AEWEN project, aiming at connecting Europe and Africa, comes to an end

The AEWEN (Africa Europe Water & Energy Network) project, co-funded under the COSME programme of the European Union, has successfully concluded its activities. Its primary objective was to develop a network and implement a joint internationalisation strategy to assist European SMEs in expanding into three selected African countries: Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia. The project aimed to address the growing demand in Africa for green energy and water solutions. Initiated in late 2021, the AEWEN project concluded in March 2024.

The AEWEN project consortium comprised four established European clusters specialising in complementary areas of energy and water: Tenerrdis, based in Grenoble, France, and project coordinator, alongside Environment Park / CLEVER in Turin, Italy, the Catalan Water Partnership (CWP) in Girona, Spain, and Cluster TWEED in Liège, Belgium.

Throughout the project duration, four business missions were planned in African countries. Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia were chosen due to their projected growth in the renewable energy sector and needs for sustainable water solutions to face water scarcity. In order to foster interactions with companies from these countries, partnerships have been established with 15 organisations active in the water and energy sectors and keen to promote networking and knowledge sharing.

In Morocco, two missions were conducted due to the abundance of opportunities it presented. The first mission occurred in December 2022, followed by a second mission in November 2023. These missions included activities such as B2B meetings, roundtable discussions, and visits to key companies in the region, such as OCP-Jorf Lasfar, AMA Detergent, and Taqa Morocco. The second mission also featured conferences and participation in the Global Green Event in El Jadida.

Senegal hosted the second mission in July 2023, organised in collaboration with the ESECA project. Notably, a significant number of individual B2B meetings were held during this mission, along with a conference on water and energy.

The mission to Tunisia took place in September 2023, spanning three days and involving a welcoming conference, roundtable discussions on water and energy, and visits to key institutions and research centres such as the Technopole de Borj Cédria and Technopark Neotex in Monastir. Networking opportunities and individual B2B meetings were also facilitated.

The involvement of companies in projects activities, and especially missions, was integral to the project's success. Overall, 45 companies from Europe participated in the missions. While many contacts were established, about ten companies already succeeded in building business collaborations with companies based in Morocco and Senegal. Further cooperative opportunities are under discussion.

In addition to the missions, the AEWEN project aimed to keep stakeholders informed about energy and water developments and project updates through various activities and webinars. These activities included pre-mission webinars, strategic sessions such as the so-called “Country days” in which key information was shared about the target markets, and capacity-building webinars focusing on internationalisation strategies, the water-energy-food nexus and funding opportunities.

Participation in relevant fairs such as IFAT 2022, Ecomondo 2022, Pollutec 2023, Aquatech 2023, and Off-Grid Expo 2023 provided opportunities to expand the network and promote the project to a wider audience as well as the chance to enhancing networking opportunities through B2B meetings and guided tours.

A key objective of the AEWEN project was to foster collaboration and synergy between European and African companies to promote business and facilitate growth in the water and energy sectors in targeted African countries. To this extent, the AEWEN website served as a central platform for accessing information about the project and the companies involved, including a comprehensive catalogue showcasing their characteristics. On the whole, 175 companies, both from Europe and Africa, joined the AEWEN network, 148 of them being SMEs.

Going forward, efforts will be made to maintain and expand the network established by AEWEN to leverage the project's outcomes and generate further benefits.


Additional information

AEWEN website : https://aewenproject.eu

List of partners in Africa : https://aewenproject.eu/partners/

Image

AEWEN-EU delegation.jpg