The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) has signed four new agreements with energy service companies to support the expansion and scale-up of off-grid stand-alone solar home systems in Burkina Faso, Uganda and Zambia, which is expected to benefit approximately up to 2.5 million people living in remote areas.
Further agreements have been signed with FINCA Plus LLC Uganda, Sun King (Greenlight Planet Zambia Limited), Qotto SARL BF and Bboxx (Advens Bboxx Burkina Faso SAS). The total amount of results-based financing for the four projects is EUR 9.6 million, which is expected to leverage an additional EUR 15.5 million in other financing. In total, these new investees aim to provide approx. 2.5 million people with access to modern, clean and affordable energy in rural and peri-urban areas in all countries. Funding for these further signed projects includes financing from all the BGFA donors: Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.
Increased energy access in Eastern and Northern Uganda
FINCA Plus LLC, known locally as BrightLife Uganda, provides access to affordable products to markets to improve the daily lives of low-income customers living in remote areas. FINCA will receive results-based financing from BGFA to expand and scale its operations and distribute some 136,700 new energy service subscriptions in the form of light, phone charging, TVs and refrigeration in rural areas of Eastern and Northern Uganda.
“We are delighted to announce our partnership with BGFA, which will support our mission to bring clean and reliable energy solutions to communities throughout Uganda. BGFA’s technical assistance will further strengthen our sales, after-sales support, customer management and fundraising capabilities. Together, we will drive sustainable impact and improve lives across the country,” says Laurynas Vaiciulis,Chief Executive Officer, BrightLife Uganda (FINCA Plus, LLC).
“We are glad to see that Uganda is accelerating the transition to more clean and sustainable energy sources in rural and peri-urban areas. FINCA’s financing will provide access to up to 711,000 people in these remote areas,” says Tina Möller, Programme Manager at Nefco.
Solar home systems for households and small businesses in Zambia
Founded in 2007, Sun King provides energy for 1.8 billion consumers across Africa and Asia who lack access to reliable electricity. Sun King designs, finances and installs small-scale off-grid photovoltaic systems, such as solar lanterns and stand-alone solar home systems.
Sun King started its operations in Zambia in 2021 and has already provided over 220,000 Zambian homes with light and power. BGFA funding will enable Sun King to offer inclusive pay-as-you-go financing to off-grid Zambian communities with limited access to finance. The aim is to install approx. 229,000 new high-quality, clean and affordable energy systems in remote areas of Zambia, which will benefit over one million people.
“BGFA’s support will help Sun King to reach communities overlooked by traditional energy services. Our goal is to extend green, affordable solar energy to one million Zambians through the cooperation,” says Anish Thakkar, Co-Founder of Sun King.
Sun King’s portable solar phone charging. Photo: Sun King
Off-grid energy services to be scaled up across Burkina Faso
Bboxx is a company established in 2010 that provides clean energy and other services such as clean cooking to households, small businesses and institutions across ten Africa countries. With results-based financing from BGFA, Bboxx will be able to expand its business in Burkina Faso through its local joint venture with Geocoton Advens Group. The aim is to distribute up to 100,000 new high-quality, clean and affordable solutions through lights, chargers, radios, torches and TVs.
“The BGFA programme is a major step forward in tackling a key obstacle to achieving universal electrification in Burkina Faso. Tackling energy poverty is the first step in overcoming poverty as a whole, and the BGFA programme is a core component to achieve 100% electrification at scale, and it will have a positive impact on the wider Burkinabé economy. Access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity has transformational benefits for households, communities and SMEs as energy is the entry point unlocking access to all other essential utilities. This programme will enable us to positively transform the lives of more than 500,000 people across Burkina Faso,” says Mansoor Hamayun,CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx
“We are very pleased to have signed two further projects in Burkina Faso. Bboxx will support access to clean energy solutions in several regions across Burkina Faso, and it is estimated to benefit over 477,000 people,” comments Dennis Hamro-Drotz, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco.
Child studying at night with the help of Bboxx solar-home system appliance. Photo: Bboxx
Qotto BF is the local subsidiary of the French holding company Qotto SAS registered in Burkina Faso in 2018. The company has proven experience delivering essential services in off-grid areas and installed over 14,300 solar home systems. Qotto BF will receive financing from BGFA to expand operations across the country with the aim to install up to approx. 21,200 off-grid stand-alone solar home systems.
“We are happy to start our partnership with BGFA. With this funding, we will expand and scale our operations in hard-to-reach areas. This will also help Qotto develop a new essential refrigeration service. Qotto will use BGFA’s technical assistance to strengthen its organisation and thus ensure a sustainable future by delivering essential services in Burkina Faso,” says Jean-Baptiste Lenoir, Co-founder and Chairman of Qotto.
“The cooperation with Qotto in Burkina Faso and Sun King in Zambia will benefit over 110,000 and 1.19 million people in rural and peri-urban areas of Burkina Faso and Zambia respectively. These are good examples of how BGFA can leverage financing for companies to expand their business into areas to which they wouldn’t otherwise go and provide access to off-grid energy solutions,” comments Aliona Fomenco, Investment Manager at Nefco.
The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa has so far contracted 19 companies, 15 from its first funding round in Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia (BGFA1) and 4 from Uganda (BGFA3). Cumulatively, these have the potential to reach up to 7.8 million people. Currently shortlisted projects from the financing rounds in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (BGFA4) and the second round in Uganda (BGFA5) are undergoing evaluation and due diligence stages.
Technicians of Qotto during a workshop. Photo: Qotto
For further information, please contact:
FINCA Plus LLC: Tina Möller, Programme Manager at Nefco
email@example.com, +358 10 6180 651
Sun King and Qotto BF: Aliona Fomenco, Investment Manager at Nefco
firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 10 6180 647
The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) is a multi-donor facility established and managed by Nefco – the Nordic Green Bank. Nefco is an international financial institution based in Helsinki, Finland, focusing on environmental and climate investments and fund management. BGFA is implemented by Nefco with the support of two project implementation partners. NIRAS is a development and engineering consultancy company headquartered in Denmark. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral partnership based in Vienna, Austria, works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions in developing countries.
The current EUR 126 million BGFA programme was established in 2019 on Sweden’s initiative through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). It has since been developed by Nefco into a multi-donor programme funded by Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden. Power Africa, an initiative administered by USAID, is providing an in-kind technical assistance contribution.
Photo: Woman and child standing in their home, powered with solar off-grid energy. Photo: BrightLife Uganda.