A dream comes true – first African investor on board
Rejecting aid money finally pays off. This investment is more than financial support.
After 10 years of rejecting Western aid, donor funding, well-meant impact investments and simply refusing to play the game of how Africa is seen and treated my dream finally comes true. It started with a phone call in December 2019 when I was contacted by the Germany Africa Business Forum, GABF. An article in BrandEins got GABF interested in the social biogas business that combines its biogas technology with a business model for its customer. I was offered to be connect to investors and I agreed with one condition: it had to be African investors. I could not believe that GABF was doing exactly that: connect promising German energy companies who work in the African market with African investors. I know this sounds unrealistic to most people in the global North, because decades of misinformation have constructed a portray of the Global South – and its inhabitants – that speaks of weakness, dependency, and helplessness. Fed by this image, Western interventions in Africa have destabilized local economies through the careless allocation of resources, provoking what results in heavy market distortion and the worst negotiating position for trading ones way out.
To break with this view on Africa I have been painfully consequent with rejecting Western funding of all sorts while establishing a biogas company that cuts through this canvas and builds a sustainable and dignified trade that enriches all parties involved – and saves the climate.
Exactly 1 year ago, in January 2020, our partner Michael Nganga for Kenya, Pride Ebile for Cameroon and I crossed the country for a meeting with our potential investor. I was aware that NJ Ayuk is the founder of the Pan-African Law Group Centurion, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and founder of GABF. I knew he had passed an amazing career as a lawyer and with his outstanding position in the African energy sector is one of the most influential Africans. However, I learned all about his beautiful personality in one sentence at the end of our 1.5 h conversation: “Katrin, (B)energy is not just a business, this is a movement! Count me in.” He had not only understood the aim of (B)energy with his sharp senses, but with his strong and determined Pan-African soul and today I am more than honored to call him and his team the first African investor of (B)energy. They are the ones who take the lead. They are the ones who show that it has to be Africans to decide about the future development of Africa; that it should be people from the continent who get the first chance to invest and to gain.
It is time for a new perspective and I thank NJ Ayuk, Jessica Stang, Verner Ayukegba, SebastianWagner, Oneyka, Zion and all in the teams of EEC, AEC and Centurion who trust in (B)energy. Your trust is worth more than any of the money I rejected in the past 10 years. I hope with this partnership we can lead a good example that sets the scene for a much needed shift of mindset – here and there!