Working alongside these businesses GVEP will ensure that their business plans are robust and training is provided on several business management areas. To date, support has been concentrated on three small dairy businesses that have had development stunted due to un-secure energy access and a lack of finance to resolve this.

Senegal Agro Alimentaire – This small seven person dairy relies on daily milk deliveries by local farmers. There is large demand in the region for the yoghurt and curd products they produce yet this demand cannot be satisfied as at present their milk collection centres are situated in areas not connected to the national grid.

Due to this problem they suffer from a significant amount of milk wastage incurring financial issues stalling their development. Recognising the potential to scale-up, GVEP will work alongside Senegal Agro Alimentaire to install two new milk collection centres, each housing a solar powered cooling tank; allowing them to utilise all of the milk delivered.

Laiterie Le Fermier – Mr Ibrahima Fall, is a pioneer and the first to produce cheese in the region, he now wants to scale-up and diversify productivity (which is at present around 260 litres a day) using sustainable equipment. He has been facing significant challenges with supply chain management due to a lack of energy to store the milk collected from local herders.

During the transhumance period herders travel, resulting in a lesser milk supply for the business and a recurring cycle of decreased production between October and June. GVEP will support the business to obtain a further three milk collection centres powered by solar energy which will result in a higher and more stable production capacity, this in turn will require more staff to be recruited.

Laiterie Bilaame Pul Debbo – Mrs. Kandé is a native from the Kolda region and started her business activity in 2002. Having benefited from training in milk processing and transformation, she has become a very skilled entrepreneur and a key figure in the milk industry in Kolda. However, the constraints of not having electricity in areas where herders sell their milk have limited both production growth and turnover.

Mrs. Kandé is aiming to recruit six new staff members including an accountant, a delivery driver and an assistant, increasing the current staff team from seven to thirteen. By installing solar powered tanks, Mrs. Kandé feels confident that she would be able to produce a wider variety of high quality products including cheeses which she learnt to produce during a training session in France. With support and assistance from GVEP Mrs. Kandé expects to double her turnover in the coming year.

In addition to these dairy businesses GVEP has been working with two tourist camps, Le Dogon du Fouta and GIE Les Cascades to create business and procurement plans, as with the dairy businesses an Independent evaluation committee reviewed and approved these plans. Initial development will be focused on securing energy access so that lights and fans can be installed in the huts, which will boost turnover and permit the owners to employ more staff and create more huts for business development. At present they have severe difficulties in ensuring that all huts are in usable conditions.

"We expect to see a significant social impact in the surrounding communities as they will benefit from job creation, increased income and access to better quality food provision. For many living in remote villages the lack of opportunity leads them to move to larger cities such as Dakar to seek work. With businesses able to employ more local young people, we hope to see a reduction in rural-urban migration,” says Amadou Diallo, GVEP’s Country Manager for Senegal.

In Senegal, GVEP is working in alignment with the governments’ rural electrification strategy in conjunction with ASER. Funds for this programme have been provided by the Russian government through the World Bank.