EEP Africa Team Sees Impact on the Ground

The EEP Africa team recently visited a number of projects from its portfolio in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. The projects covered a range of clean energy technologies that highlight the diverse EEP Africa portfolio, including mini-grids, micro-hydro, electric mobility, solar home systems and improved cookstoves. It’s always exciting to see the impact that EEP financing has on the ground and the amazing work the project developers are doing!

To keep up to date on the travels of our team members and the achievements of EEP-financed projects, please please follow our social media channels, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The project developers visited by the EEP Africa team most recently are:

Tiny Totos is bringing clean cooking to day cares in Nairobi and working with them to offer working mothers access to clean energy products and financing. Tiny Totos recently won the African Regional MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge, a competition for entrepreneurs using technology to create economic opportunity for workers, with an entry based on the platform being built with EEP financing. The EEP Africa team was joined on the site visit by representatives of the Africa Guarantee Fund and the governments of Finland and Canada.

Kumudzi Kuwale operates 34 stations in the Central District of Malawi that provide affordable, renewable electricity and light to the most marginalised, rural population. (This social enterprise is partially owned by Grønn-Hagen Bjørke Malawi Foundation in Norway.) EEP Africa financing is supporting scale up of this model and expansion to new regions across Malawi.

Zembo is bringing electric motorcycles to the boda-boda taxi market in Kampala, Uganda. EEP Africa financing is supporting the piloting of this new product and the establishment of battery re-charging stations. Our team even got to take a ride on one of the new motorcycles!

SolarWorks! has begun to build a distribution and sales network in Malawi for solar home systems that support lighting, mobile-phone charging, televisions, and refrigeration. EEP Africa financing supports last mile distribution, enabling the project to reach the most remote and financially constrained households.

Ensol has developed mini-grids in the village of Mpale, Tanzania and its five hamlets. The mini-grid model has a clear focus on developing the local community through productive use of energy assets. Our team visited Mpale and enjoyed the electrified village by night!

Devergy has deployed 14 mini-grids in Tanzania and is now driving rural entrepreneurship with the sale of solar productive use of energy systems, particularly refrigerators. Our team visited one of the sites financed by EEP Africa in Ifumbo.

Practical Action has secured a site in Usingini, Malawi for a 300 kW micro-hydro plant that will provide electricity to smallholder coffee farmers. EEP Africa financing is ensuring that the project includes integrated community engagement.

Investor Forum Matchmakes Companies and Investors in Clean Energy

EEP Africa, Shell Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures together with select investors and companies come together in Nairobi for high energy investor day.

EEP Africa, Shell Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures convened a select group of impact investors for structured matchmaking meetings with a curated group of high impact, investible clean energy companies in Nairobi on 24 September 2019.  The invitation-only event brought together more than 50 global and regional investors, DFIs and funds together with more than 20 leading innovation- and impact- oriented companies in clean energy and sustainable transport.

The day showcased the value of partnerships at all levels. EEP Africa and Shell Foundation each have long experience hosting successful investor events and deep early stage investment portfolios in clean energy in Africa. Together with Factor[e] Ventures, the partners together brought a combined portfolio of high quality companies in front of a room of investors, providing pure added-value in a single day for investors and companies alike.

Kicking off the event on behalf of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), EEP Africa Fund Manager and NDF Program Manager Charles Wetherill told the audience,

“I ran into a CEO in the airport yesterday who said he dropped everything and flew here exclusively for this event when he saw the high quality investor list.”

“Our purpose is to catalyse investment in a curated pipeline of investible companies delivering climate relevant, clean energy business models in line with the SDGs,” Wetherill said in a morning address to investors, adding, “we want to be your trusted and preferred partner for identification of the next generation of scalable investment opportunities in clean energy in Africa.”

The day also offered dedicated opportunities for investors only to network and discuss topics including catalysing blended finance, valuation strategies, access to local currency debt and guarantees and best practices on identifying, mentoring and investing in local African entrepreneurs. Participants included private equity and impact investors, debt and guarantee providers, grant facilities, local banks, and DFIs.

EEP Africa Head of Portfolio & Finance, Lauri Tuomaala, highlighted that

the strong portfolio of companies here today is a testament to the power of partnership and provides investors with an efficient platform to connect with emerging players in the sector and identify investment opportunities.

EEP Africa was proud to partner with Shell Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures on this major event.

Access to finance is a key barrier towards scaling off-grid energy and transport businesses in East Africa,” noted Heidi Hafes, Market Development Manager for Shell Foundation. “Events like these are important in bringing together investors active in the sector with relevant entrepreneurs. We look forward to seeing today’s vibrant discussions lead to positive actions.

Faith Chege, East Africa Regional Associate at Factor[e] Ventures, emphasized that “the strong network of investors here provide follow-on funding to our diverse portfolio of found and validated companies, creating a rich pipeline of technology-enabled ventures in the region. These partnerships have made it possible for funded companies to raise Series A and B rounds.

Participating companies were also selected from the portfolio of the Nordic Climate Facility, a challenge fund facility managed by NDF and providing early stage grant support for innovative climate business concepts with focus on specific countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Ramses Malaty, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Kenya, closed the event by noting that it’s “great to witness the effect of Finland’s long-term commitment to EEP Africa. The private sector collaboration keeps growing and getting better all the time!”

Plans are already underway for the next investor event to take place in South Africa in the first half of 2020. Interested investors are invited to be in touch at info@eepafrica.org to explore participation.

EEP Africa is a clean energy financing facility managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with funding from Austria, Finland and NDF. It provides early stage grant and catalytic debt financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models in Southern and East Africa.

Shell Foundation (SF) is a UK-registered charity that creates and scales business solutions to enhance access to energy and affordable transport. It supports innovators to test new technology and enterprise models that can contribute towards the SDGs, achieve financial independence and operate at scale.

Factor[e] Ventures is a venture capital firm with operations in East Africa, USA & India. We invest in early stage ventures in agriculture, sanitation, mobility & energy. Through our venture development high touch model, we work closely with our portfolio companies to transform their ideas into market based solutions.

Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) is a challenge fund hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) financing early stage climate projects in select countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. NCF aims to build a portfolio of innovative business concepts which have been tested, proved viable and are ready to be scaled-up and replicated.

Solar Irrigation Highlights NDF Portfolio Synergies

New loan financing from Off-Grid Energy Access Fund builds on early stage support from EEP Africa and highlights synergies in the NDF clean energy portfolio.

The Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI-OGEF) recently announced a new investment in SunCulture, a Kenya-based company specializing in solar pumping, irrigation and technology solutions for small holder farmers.

“This is the perfect illustration of NDF’s portfolio approach to climate finance,” said NDF Program Manager and EEP Africa Manager, Charles Wetherill. “We are making deliberate financing choices that yield powerful synergies in the marketplace. In this case, EEP Africa, NDF’s early stage clean energy financing vehicle, took the first step with grant financing in 2016 to enable SunCulture to develop its business case. Now FEI-OGEF, another strategic piece of the NDF climate finance portfolio, picks up the baton with working capital debt financing to enable scale-up and growth.”

SunCulture enables rural and small holder households, many of which are women-led, to make the switch from rainfall dependent agriculture to irrigation based agriculture. This brings improved productivity, expands the number of growing seasons and land under cultivation and can increase household income by as much as 5x – 10x.

FEI-OGEF is a blended finance off-grid energy investment fund established in 2018 by the African Development Bank and NDF together with partners including All-On, Calvert Impact Capital and the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and managed by Lions Head Global Partners.

More information on EEP Africa support to SunCulture is available here.

More information can be found directly at the FEI-OGEF and SunCulture websites

Photo credit: SunCulture