Governance + Ag + Climate = Cape Verde opportunities

For the past couple years, we've been exploring ways to help Cape Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, reach its ambitious development goals. Whether  working with the Prime Minister's office to expand its organizational capacity, growing renewable energy on the islands, or creating a value-added agriculture venture, Kria sees Cape Verde as a perfect partner for advancing our model of strategic investing. 

So we're starting 2017 by heading over to Praia  in early January - my third trip in the past six months, and Dan's first to CV. On the agenda are our three focus areas: governance, agriculture, and renewables. I'll continue my work with the Prime Minister and his team, and we'll be meeting with partner farmers and entrepreneurs to plan Cape Verde's first domestic juice production business. 

We're also excited to explore opportunities to help the country achieve its ambitious renewable goals. Cape Verde has established 2020 as the target for achieving 100% renewables. That's a high bar to meet - the country is currently at 25% renewables - but it's worth it: the other 75% of CV's electricity is generated by plants powered by imported diesel and heavy oil. In other words, horrible for the climate and extremely expensive. 

We want to be part of the solution. We're currently working with solar and battery storage developers to scope renewable projects that can help move CV to 100%. Options range from solar farms to rooftop solar to community pilot projects. One goal is to use our juice venture as one of these pilot projects, bringing renewable energy to our partner farmers and to power our production facility. 

The need has never been clearer. In just the past few weeks, Cape Verde press has been full of stories about the country's energy challenges: line losses to the grid cost the public utility (and Cape Verdean taxpayers) millions every year - a problem that microgrid technology can help solve; one of Cape Verde's largest employers just laid off 300 workers, citing electricity costs; and the country is facing infrastructure and training obstacles that may keep it from achieving its goal.  

Big challenges, big opportunities for CV and Kria in 2017. We'll keep you posted on our progress!