The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa programme signs its first projects with off-grid energy service companies in Uganda

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa programme signs its first projects with off-grid energy service companies in Uganda

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The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) programme has signed its first agreements in Uganda to support the expansion and scale-up of high-quality solar home systems. The projects will scale up energy access in rural and peri-urban areas in the country with the help of results-based financing provided from the programme.

The first projects have been signed with d.light Design Uganda and ENGIE Energy Access Uganda. The total value of the two first agreements is approx. EUR 5.2 million, enabling the establishment of up to 370,000 high-quality energy service connections, which will benefit approx. 1.8 million people.

d.light is a local solar distributor in Uganda, established in 2016 as an operational subsidiary of the d.light Group. The company enables reliable power through solar energy solutions with a Pay-As-You-Go business model. The company has sold over 25 million products, including solar lanterns, solar home systems, TVs, radios and smartphones. d.light is planning to distribute 200,000 new high-quality, clean and affordable solar home systems in its existing areas of operation in the country and to grow its distribution partnerships in new geographic areas of Uganda.

“Our 2030 goal is to help transform the lives of 1 billion people through access to our sustainable products. We are very excited to partner with the BGFA programme to expand our activities in Uganda. The received financing will enable us to scale up energy access faster in rural areas of Uganda, benefiting approx. 1 million people,” comments Nick Imudia, CEO at d.light.

“We are very happy to support d.light Uganda to help the company scale up access to affordable off-grid solar home systems in the country. With the results-based financing from the BGFA programme, this project will contribute to improving the quality of life of people living in rural and peri-urban areas in Uganda,” says Aliona Fomenco, Investment Manager at Nefco.

ENGIE Energy Access Uganda (previously Fenix International) was established in 2013 as a subsidiary of the French mother company ENGIE. ENGIE Energy Access Uganda has sold over 700,000 solar home systems in Uganda, bringing clean, reliable power for lights, phones, radios and TVs. Now, the company intends to further scale up its existing business activities by setting up, up to 170,000 new high-quality energy service subscriptions to customers in rural and peri-urban areas of Uganda. The company will provide energy services through sales of solar home systems at affordable prices and scale at a pace that would not be possible without the BGFA funding.

We are excited to partner with BGFA over the next four years and improve the lives of over 800,000 people with our solar entry-level kits. Thanks to the use of digital tools and strong penetration of mobile money in sub-Saharan Africa, we sell access to energy products to our customers on credit to make them affordable. With the much-needed support from impact investors such as BGFA, we will be able to provide sustainable, renewable energy to communities that are most vulnerable and help them climb the energy ladder,” comments Gillian-Alexandre Huart, CEO of ENGIE Energy Access.

We are very happy to continue our cooperation with ENGIE Energy Access with this new project in Uganda and support its business expansion and scale-up of solar home systems on the market and the creation of approx. 170,000 new energy connections,” says Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco.

The supported projects will help to improve the affordability of off-grid energy products in Uganda. From a longer-term perspective, the projects will increase job opportunities, enable better quality education and support the transformation of increased usage of renewable energy sources. In addition to these first two projects, Nefco is currently negotiating further project agreements also with local Ugandan companies. The BGFA expansion in Uganda is financed by Denmark and Sweden.

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa has so far contracted 13 projects: 2 from Uganda (BGFA3) and 11 from its first funding round in Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia (BGFA1). Further projects are under negotiation from both BGFA1 and BGFA3. The latest and fourth funding round (BGFA4) opened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in June 2022 and launched its second stage of the application process earlier in November, inviting successful applicants to submit their Final Applications.

For further information, please contact:

Aliona Fomenco, Investment Manager at Nefco, +358 10 6180 647

Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco, +35810 618 0660

About d.light Design Uganda

d.light is a global leader in making transformative products available and affordable to low-income families. d.light enables reliable power through solar energy solutions and financing with Pay-As-You-Go technology. The company has sold over 25 million products including solar lanterns, solar home systems, TVs, radios and smartphones, aiming to transform the lives of 1 billion people with sustainable products. Read more:

About ENGIE Energy Access

ENGIE Energy Access is one of the leading Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGo) and mini-grid solutions providers in Africa, with a mission to deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy solutions and life-changing services with exceptional customer experience. The company is a result of the integration of Fenix International, ENGIE Mobisol and ENGIE PowerCorner, and it develops innovative, off-grid solar solutions for homes, public services and businesses, giving customers and distribution partners access to clean, affordable energy. The PAYGo solar home systems are financed through affordable instalments from USD 0.19 per day and the mini-grids foster economic development by enabling electrical productive use and triggering business opportunities for entrepreneurs in rural communities. Read more:

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 based in Helsinki, Finland, focusing on environmental and climate investments. BGFA is implemented in partnership with NIRAS and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). NIRAS is a development and engineering consultancy company headquartered in Denmark with offices in over 25 countries across Europe, Africa, South Asia and Latin America. REEEP is an international multilateral partnership based in Vienna, Austria, that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions in developing countries.

The current approx. EUR 127 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. Sweden contributes SEK 835 million (EUR 80 million) from the Swedish embassies in all BGFA project countries. Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributes DKK 117.5 million (EUR 15.8 million) to support the programme in Uganda. Germany, through its development bank KfW, is supporting the BGFA country programme in Zambia by providing EUR 7.5 million. Norway, through Norad – the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, contributes NOK 200 million (EUR 19 million).

Photo: Meeting in Kampala with d.light Design Uganda and ENGIE Energy Access Uganda.
Starting from left: Cynthia Natukunda and Ssuna Timothy (d.light Design Ugand), Tina Nyberg (Nefco), Marjolein Bommmerez and Beatrice Nabbanja (ENGIE Energy Access Uganda) Photo credits: Anders Arvidson (Sida)

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