The United Nations Environment Programme’s Rural Energy Enterprise Development (REED) initiative operates in Africa as AREED to develop new sustainable energy enterprises that use clean, efficient, and renewable energy technologies. These new enterprises can meet the energy needs of under-served populations while reducing the environmental and health consequences of existing energy use, particularly low quality biomass fuels such as wood and dung.

AREED offers rural energy entrepreneurs in Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia a combination of enterprise development services and start-up financing. This integrated financial and technical support allows entrepreneurs to plan and structure their companies for growth and makes eventual investments by mainstream financial partners possible.

AREED works with African NGOs and development organizations, helping them to identify potential energy projects and provide follow-up business support services to entrepreneurs. Resource tools are also available which focus on business planning, management structuring, and financial planning for the rural energy sector.