External evaluation finds that the pilot programme in Zambia played a significant role in developing the off-grid energy market

External evaluation finds that the pilot programme in Zambia played a significant role in developing the off-grid energy market

News |

An ex-post programme evaluation has been carried out of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ) pilot programme implemented between 2016 and 2022. The support from BGFZ facilitated the installation of almost 3 MW of renewable energy, reaching over 192,000 households and one million Zambians.

The BGFZ programme, a pioneering results-based financing facility aimed at providing energy access to underserved populations in Zambia, centred on three key pillars: market-based results-based financing for energy service providers, a market change platform administered via the Zambian Off-Grid Task Force and a market and data information platform administered via the EDISON data and monitoring system.

“Sweden takes great pride in having initiated the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia. This groundbreaking initiative laid the foundation for what has now become the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA), one of the continent’s largest results-based financing programmes for energy access. The journey began with BGFZ in Zambia, driven by the innovative minds at Sida and our dedicated partners. This important evaluation report shows that BGFZ has achieved significant impacts and will help improve BGFA going forward,” says Adam Öjdahl, First Secretary & Regional Energy Adviser, Embassy of Sweden in Nairobi and Chair of the BGFA Steering Committee.

The evaluation provides lessons learnt and recommendations for the off-grid energy sector as a whole, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, and future initiatives to enhance off-grid energy access and market development. The key findings show that the BGFZ programme played a key role in supporting energy access objectives for Zambia and that the established off-grid task force was highly successful in coordinating policy reforms in the country. BGFZ was a critical component in seeding the Zambian off-grid clean energy market and putting it on a path as an example for other countries in the region – Zambia has seen one of the longest and most sustained growth in sales since BGFZ came into force. The evaluation also concludes that raising commercial finance is very hard to do, and as it can take a long time for energy service companies to grow, and to do so sustainably, technical assistance may be more effective when it is demand driven.

The ex-post evaluation, conducted by Greencroft Economics, assessed the programme’s effectiveness, impact and sustainability over its implementation period, from 2016 to 2022. The evaluation was conducted from January to May 2024 and was based on 30 interviews and a review of over 240 documents. It covered a variety of aspects such as the financial and technical support provided to the four supported energy service providers under the pilot programme, their progress towards sales targets and the programme’s broader market impact.

For further information about the ex-post evaluation:

Read more in the Summary report, the full report and the webinar presentation.

For further information, please contact:

Petra Mikkolainen, Senior Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Manager at Nefco
petra.mikkolainen@nefco.int, +358 10 6180588

Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco
kari.hamekoski@nefco.int, +358 10 618 0660

Merja Laakso, Director of Programmes at REEEP
merja.laakso@reeep.org, +43 1 260 2632 90

Ed Day, Evaluation Team Leader, Greencroft Economics
ed.day@greencrofteconomics.com, +44 7528 647 522

About BGFZ

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia programme (BGFZ) was an initiative aimed at stimulating the off-grid energy market in Zambia to kick-start the market for affordable, reliable, and clean energy services provided by the private sector. It was funded by the Embassy of Sweden and managed and executed by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). Nefco, the Facility Manager of BGFA, joined the pilot programme in 2019.

The overall aim of BGFZ was to incentivise and facilitate private sector participation in the Zambian off-grid markets in order to increase basic energy access, improve livelihoods and catalyse economic activity in rural and peri-urban areas of Zambia, with the goal to bring modern energy services to one million Zambians by 2021.

Photo: Off-grid solar home systems provide a Zambian home with light after nightfall – Jason Mulikita for Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia

Contact us

Wish to know more about the BGFA programme? Kindly contact us through our website form.


Contact Us