Three Cairns Fellows

Advancing the clean energy transition in Sub-Saharan Africa

Danson Mugambi, a project developer for SOWITEC, a renewable energy company, is working to establish a pipeline of clean energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa. One of two people in the region has no access to electricity, and the need to diversify energy sources to provide universal electricity access and green the grid is urgent, Mugambi says. The Financing and Deploying Clean Energy (FDCE) certificate program is giving him a better understanding of how to source the financing needed to advance these projects.



In sub-Saharan Africa, less than 50% of the population has access to electricity. Several countries in the region often depend on large hydroelectric dams and coal plants for generation, but low precipitation rates have hampered output. As efforts to increase electrification rates ramp up, there is an urgent need to accelerate the transition to clean energy. Danson Mugambi, a project developer for SOWITEC, a renewable energy company, has been developing a pipeline of projects in Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. However, getting the financial backing to move forward can be difficult, he says.

“In Zambia and Zimbabwe, we suffer from low investor confidence due to political instability and high debt levels, making it challenging to secure financing for wind projects in these markets. Kenya also lacks a regulatory framework for licensing green hydrogen projects,” Mugambi notes.

He enrolled in the FDCE certificate program to gain insight and practical knowledge on how to secure financing for renewable projects and, consequently, help countries in the region reach their last-mile connectivity goals.

“The certificate program is an opportunity for me to deepen my understanding of energy markets, policy creation, and the structuring of renewable energy project finance. The course structure has been excellent so far in how it ties concepts together, and there is a depth of knowledge and experience, not just from our teachers, but fellow participants,” he says.

It is a privilege to develop renewable energy projects in markets undergoing not only a transition to renewables, but also pushing for universal electricity access for all citizens. However, one of the biggest challenges developers face in these markets is obtaining project financing.”

Meet More 2023-2024 Three Cairns Fellows


Federico Perez

TFL Certificate                           Colombia

Elaff Abdallah

FDCE Certificate                           Sudan

Lynne Beth Awuor

TFL Certificate                                   Kenya

Mbacham Itagah

TFL Certificate                           Cameroon
Standing next to a very long solar array

Pedro Schuch Mallmann

FDCE Certificate                              Brazil