In Sub-Saharan Africa, over 600 million people still lack access to modern energy. Off-grid clean energy technology has the potential to provide many of these people with grid-like energy services quickly and affordably, but this technology is mostly provided by private companies that are struggling to reach scale.
The Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ), a $22 million facility funded by the Government of Sweden and implemented by REEEP, is well on its way to helping 1.6 million Zambians gain access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity by 2021 – over 335,000 beneficiaries have been reached in its first 15 months of operation. This innovative and successful financing mechanism is now about to be expanded to three additional countries, in addition to a scale up within Zambia.
At this side event, representatives of the Governments of Zambia and Sweden, REEEP and NEFCO will present the BGFZ and the planned expansion - Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) - within the framework of Sweden’s general Energy Sector Development cooperation with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The BGFA fills a gap between Challenge Funds and Transaction Advisory services in supporting private sector energy service providers who are ready to scale up, but lack the capital to do so.
The discussions will stress the opportunities available to commercial investors in the off-grid clean energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and demonstrate how quickly this sector is developing and maturing.
Lars Ronnås – Climate Ambassador of Sweden
Harriet Zulu - Acting Assistant Director, Department of Energy, Ministry of Energy, Zambia
Helle Lindegaard – Vice President, Head of Trust Funds and Climate, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO)
Martin Hiller – Director General, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)
Funded by the Government of Sweden, the BGFZ, and its planned extension Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, fill the gap that off-grid energy start-ups tend to fall into after graduating from accelerator programmes but before managing to access private scale-up capital independently. The $22 million BGFZ has provided grants to four companies to de-risk their entry into or scale-up in the Zambian market. Simultaneously, the programme works with the Zambian Government and other stakeholders to improve the regulatory environment through the newly launched Zambia Off-Grid Task Force.
In the year leading up to the launch of BGFZ, the four companies sold fewer than 3,500 off-grid energy connections. By October 2018, after 15 months of operation, they have sold nearly 65,000 connections, reaching over 335,000 beneficiaries. It is expected that by 2021, 1.6 million Zambians will have gained access to modern, reliable, clean off-grid electricity through the companies supported by BGFZ. The aim is for the market for off-grid clean energy services in Zambia to continue to thrive without the need for further public support.
There are now advanced plans to expand this highly successful programme to Mozambique, Liberia and Burkina Faso, as well as provide another round of financing to stimulate further the Zambian off-grid energy market.
How does the programme work? What will its expansion mean for the off-grid energy sectors in Zambia and the three additional countries? Join our side event to find out.
This side event is organised by REEEP, NEFCO and ICETT, in cooperation with the Governments of Sweden and Zambia.