Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa announces upcoming funding round for Uganda

25-03-2021, Helsinki, Finland

At a Steering Committee meeting of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) related to the Uganda Country Programme, Denmark and Sweden gave the green light to launch BGFA’s third Call for Proposals (BGFA3) targeted at the East African nation. Following this decision, BGFA will soon launch a Call for Proposals inviting interested off-grid energy service providers to compete for a number of Funding Lots for Uganda. 

 

The upcoming BGFA3 aims to accelerate the entrance and scale-up of commercially sustainable businesses in Uganda through the deployment of its innovative social impact procurement mechanism. This third BGFA Call for Proposals is expected to offer incentives to off-grid energy service providers to establish up to 600,000 energy connections that will benefit more than 3 million people in rural areas of Uganda. 

The Call for Proposals is planned for launch in April 2021, and further information will be announced via the BGFA website at beyondthegrid.africa.

“Accelerating access to off-grid solar power in Uganda is a unique win-win opportunity for both closing the energy gap and creating new job opportunities for young people and women in the off-grid energy sector,” stated Nicolaj A. Hejberg Petersen, Danish Ambassador to Uganda.

The pilot programme Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ), which was launched in 2016 and implemented by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), has already connected over 900,000 Zambians to off-grid electricity sources. Building on this success, Sweden and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (Nefco) agreed in 2019 to set up the BGFA facility  in order to extend this approach to other African countries and to implement it in partnership with REEEP. Denmark will provide an additional EUR 10.8 million (pending final parliamentary approval) for the Uganda activities and with this new total value of EUR 28 million, Uganda will become BGFA’s largest Country Programme.

“We are excited to see the launch of BGFA Uganda with its mix of proposed funding windows that target and incentivise the scale-up of different segments of the off-grid market. The BGFA off-grid funding windows aim to reach the poorest and most underserved populations, providing basic electricity services, support for maturing solutions and the acceleration of the green mini-grid market, with the potential to support productive energy use and job creation. We also appreciate the balanced approach of engaging both large, established companies and emerging local companies,” commented Per Lindgärde, Swedish Ambassador to Uganda.

“The settlement patterns in the rural areas are mainly sparse, making grid extension costly and uneconomical in many instances. The BGFA programme will bring much needed investment in off-grid electrification efforts to accelerate access to electricity in rural areas and open up opportunities for increased productivity, income generation and improved delivery of services” says Eng. Joan K. Mutiibwa, Board Secretary and Accounting Officer, Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

The Call for Proposals will be an online process and is expected to launch in April 2021. Detailed selection criteria will be made available on the BGFA website at this time. More information about the upcoming Call for Proposals is available in the announcement document.

For further information

Ash Sharma 
Head of BGFA, Nefco
ash.sharma [at] nefco.int,
M: +358 50 471 2850

Lia Oker-Blom,
Senior Communications Officer, Nefco
lia.oker-blom [at] nefco.int,
M: +358 50 325 6610

Erin Stewart,
Communications and Marketing Manager, REEEP
erin.stewart [at] reeep.org,
T: +43 1 26026 3643

 

About BGFA

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa is a multi-donor facility established and managed by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (Nefco). Nefco is an international financial institution focused on environmental and climate investments based in Helsinki, Finland. BGFA is implemented by REEEP, an international multilateral partnership based in Vienna, Austria, working to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions in developing countries. 

The facility was initially funded by Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Swedish embassies in the target countries. Power Africa, an initiative administered by USAID, is providing an in-kind technical assistance contribution worth approx. EUR 4 million (USD 4.5 million) over three years to help operationalise the initiative and develop a pipeline of commercially viable projects within the framework of BGFA. Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined the BGFA programme in December 2020 providing EUR 5 million (DKK 37.5 million) and will provide an additional EUR 10.8 million (DKK 80 million; subject to final parliamentary approval), to support a planned expansion to Uganda. Germany, through its development bank KfW, has joined the BGFA country programme for Zambia with a focus on mini-grids. The facility remains open to donors as a cost-effective tool to finance future Calls for Proposals through existing or new country windows and bring access to clean energy to millions of rural Africans.

BGFA supports, in particular, the objective of Sustainable Development Goal 7, to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, modern energy for all by 2030, as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change and host country priorities.