Avoiding easy money has finally changed the game

After 10 years of avoiding Western aid, donor funding, well-meant impact investments and simply refusing to play the game of how Africa is seen and treated, my dream has finally come 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, a monthly German business magazine, 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 connected with investors and I agreed with one condition: they had to be African investors. I could not believe that GABF was looking for promising German energy companies to work in the African market – supported by African investors. I know this sounds unrealistic to most people in the Global North, because decades of misinformation have constructed a portrayal of the Global South – and its inhabitants – which speaks of weakness, dependency, and helplessness. To cut through this canvas, I have repeatedly excluded Western funding while establishing a biogas company that provides dignifying trading opportunities for all parties involved and tackles deforestation and climate change.

Just over one year ago, in January 2020, 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 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 also with his strong and determined pan-African soul. 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, Sebastian Wagner, Oneyka, Zion and all team members at EEC, AEC, and Centurion who trust in (B)energy. Your trust is worth more than any of the money I have rejected over the past 10 years.

Katrin Pütz

Founder of (B)energy

Katrin Pütz was a winner of the empowering people. Award in 2012. She is the founder of (B)energy, a social business that provides households in rural Africa, Asia, and Latin America with access to cooking biogas in an innovative, entrepreneurial, technical, and ecological manner.

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